Neal Butler v. Nancy Butler

577 S.W.2d 501 (1978)


H and W were married on December 30, 1961. Two children, Billy Joe Butler, and Cynthia Kay Butler, were born in Texas during the marriage. In May of 1975, they separated and then reconciled briefly. On August 12, 1975, H left his wife and moved to Louisiana. W filed her petition for divorce in Dallas County on August 22, 1975. When H left, he took his minor daughter, Cynthia Kay, with him. H never told his wife his new location or communicated any information to her concerning the well-being of Cynthia. W was never able to obtain personal service. W enlisted the services of the sheriff's departments of four different counties and parishes and hired a private investigator to locate H and Cynthia. W used the Parent Locater Service of the Texas Department of Welfare to try to locate H. W was served with process in a lawsuit instituted by H in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, seeking separation from bed and board and custody of their minor daughter. W obtained a Texas temporary restraining order, hired another private investigator, and went to Louisiana to get temporary custody of her daughter. She was successful.  The trial court authorized substituted service by delivering the citation to H's attorney of record in the Louisiana divorce proceeding by certified mail, return receipt requested. Service was had on June 27, 1977. On July 13, 1977, W filed her answer in the Louisiana divorce proceedings. H filed a special appearance in the Texas divorce proceeding, and the trial court overruled H's objections to the jurisdiction of the Texas court. By only raising the issue of defective service, H waived his special appearance. The court entered a decree of divorce, made W the managing conservator of the minor children, ordered child support and entered a decree for attorney's fees in favor of W. H appealed. H contends the trial court did not have in personam jurisdiction over him; and that the manner of substituted service upon his attorney of record in the Louisiana divorce proceeding was improper.