The Texas Family Code provides that a receiver may be appointed to take control of certain assets in the middle of a Texas divorce proceeding. The standard for appointing a receiver is a relatively low bar – a receiver may be appointed “for the preservation and protection of the property of the parties”. [Texas Family Code section 6.502(a)(5)]. In fact, a receiver may be appointed to take charge of community or separate property of the parties. [In re C.F.M., 360 S.W.3d 654 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012).]
BEWARE, challenging the appointment of a receiver is reviewable by interlocutory appeal. This is one of the few times that interlocutory appeal applies in a Texas family law case!
An interlocutory appeal operates under accelerated deadlines, so the notice of appeal is due 20 days after the order appointing the receiver is signed by the judge. [Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure 26.1(b).] An extension of this deadline may be requested. With the notice of appeal, the appellant must designate and request the clerk’s record and the reporter’s record, which must be filed within 10 days after the notice of appeal. Then, the appellant’s brief is due 20 days after the records are filed.
Only orders appointing a receiver are appealable via interlocutory appeal. Other orders regarding receivership are not subject to interlocutory appeal such as: order denying appointment of receiver, order dissolving receivership, or order appointing successor receiver.
Seeking interlocutory appeal under the family code does not automatically stay the appointment of the receiver or trial of the case. The trial court maintains jurisdiction over the case and may proceed with the case in any matter necessary.
NOW HERE’S THE IMPORTANT PART, failure to challenge the appointment of a receiver in a family law case by interlocutory appeal WAIVES the right to challenge. [Sclafani v. Sclafani, 870 S.W.2d 608, 611 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st. Dist.] 1993, writ denied).] Let me say this another way, an interlocutory appeal is the exclusive method of challenging the appointment of a receiver in a family law case. General consensus is that the appointment of a receiver is moot after the trial is over. [See Richards v. Mena, 820 S.W.2d 372 (Tex. 1991).]
This means that a lawyer and his or her client must decide super quickly whether to challenge the appointment of a receiver in a family law case – within 20 days or so! Otherwise, the right to complain is gone… forever. So, don’t let WAIVER DANGER happen to you!