law-test for abuse of discretion
ABUSE OF DISCRETION STANDARD (on appeal)
The test for abuse of discretion requires us to determine whether the trial court acted in
an arbitrary or unreasonable manner without reference to any guiding rules or principles.
Jelinek v. Casas, 328 S.W.3d 526, 539 (Tex. 2010).
A trial court abuses its discretion if it acts in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner or
without reference to any guiding rules or principles. Walker v. Gutierrez, 111 S.W.3d 56,
A trial court has no discretion in determining what the law is or in applying the law to the
facts. See Cayton v. Moore, 224 S.W.3d 440, 445 (Tex.App.-Dallas 2007, no pet.). An
abuse of discretion occurs if the trial court clearly failed to analyze and determine the law
correctly or applied the law incorrectly to the facts. Id.
The trial court abuses its discretion if it acts without reference to any guiding principles or
acts arbitrarily or unreasonably. Downer v. Aquamarine Operators, Inc., 701 S.W.2d 238,
241-42 (Tex.1985). Under an abuse of discretion standard, we view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the trial court's actions. Holley v. Holley, 864 S.W.2d 703, 706
(Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1993, writ denied). When we determine whether the trial
court abused its discretion, we may not substitute our judgment for that of the trial court
unless its decision was so arbitrary that it exceeded the bounds of reasonableness.
Clarendon Nat'l Ins. Co. v. Thompson, 199 S.W.3d 482, 494 (Tex.App.-Houston [1 Dist.]
2006, no pet.).
The test for an abuse of discretion is whether the trial court acted without reference to any
guiding rules and principles. Downer v. Aquamarine Operators, Inc., 701 S.W.2d 238,
241-42 (Tex. 1985). The fact that the trial court decided the issue differently than the
reviewing court would have does not indicate an abuse of discretion. Id. Nor does a mere
error in judgment rise to such a level. Id. Source: 03-06-00779-CV
Abuse of Discretion Standard of review in child custody matters
We review the trial court's decisions on custody, control, possession, and visitation
matters for an abuse of discretion. See Gillespie v. Gillespie, 644 S.W.2d 449, 451
(Tex.1982); In re M.P.B., 257 S.W.3d 804, 811 (Tex.App.-Dallas 2008, no pet.); In re
W.M., 172 S.W.3d 718, 724 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth 2005, no pet.) (adding that the trial
court has "wide latitude in determining the best interests of a minor child").
To determine whether a trial court abused its discretion, we must decide whether the
court acted without reference to any guiding rules or principles; in other words, we must
decide whether the act was arbitrary or unreasonable. Low v. Henry, 221 S.W.3d 609,
614 (Tex.2007); Cire v. Cummings, 134 S.W.3d 835, 838-39 (Tex.2004); W.M., 172
S.W.3d at 725. An appellate court cannot conclude that a trial court abused its discretion
merely because the appellate court would have ruled differently in the same
circumstances. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549, 558
(Tex.1995); see Low, 221 S.W.3d at 620.
An abuse of discretion does not occur when the trial court bases its decisions on
conflicting evidence. In re Barber, 982 S.W.2d 364, 366 (Tex.1998) (orig. proceeding).
Furthermore, an abuse of discretion does not occur as long as some evidence of
substantive and probative character exists to support the trial court's decision. Butnaru v.
Ford Motor Co., 84 S.W.3d 198, 211 (Tex.2002); W.M., 172 S.W.3d at 725. We must be
cognizant that the trial court is in a better position to decide custody cases because "it
faced the parties and their witnesses, observed their demeanor, and had the opportunity
to evaluate the claims made by each parent." In re J.R.D., 169 S.W.3d 740, 743 (Tex.
App.-Austin 2005, pet. denied).
In our review of a child custody ruling under the abuse of discretion standard, legal and
factual sufficiency are not independent grounds of error but are relevant factors in
deciding whether the trial court abused its discretion. In re T.D.C., 91 S.W.3d 865, 872
(Tex.App.-Fort Worth 2002, pet. denied) (op. on reh'g); see W.M., 172 S.W.3d at 725. In
determining whether there has been an abuse of discretion because the evidence is
legally or factually insufficient to support the trial court's decision, we consider whether the
trial court had sufficient information upon which to exercise its discretion and whether it
erred in its application of that discretion. W.M., 172 S.W.3d at 725; T.D.C., 91 S.W.3d at
872. "The traditional sufficiency review comes into play with regard to the first question.
With regard to the second question, we determine, based on the elicited evidence,
whether the trial court made a reasonable decision." W.M., 172 S.W.3d at 725 (footnote