Attorney fees impact case between NASA astronaut, former spouse

HOUSTON – For more than a year, Summer Worden said that the divorce and custody battle with Astronaut Anne McClain took over her life. But recently, everything changed. 

“It was an amazing feeling to think that I would be able to move out from under this dark cloud of court rulings,” Worden said. 

Worden said she was pleased to find out that McClain agreed to dismiss the custody fight. The good news, however, was short-lived. Worden said that the amicus attorney filed a motion to reopen the case. 

READ: Houston astronaut accused of hacking ex-spouse's bank account from space

“She made a motion to the court to reopen the case after it was dismissed so that she could then collect on court fees that she had been awarded in the last hearing but that was supposed to be for future work throughout the trial,” Worden said.

The court document alleges that Worden's outstanding balance is a little more than $4,000. 

“To move to reopen this contentious child custody case to collect a debt is absolutely absurd. Last I checked the family courts, the purpose of that was not to serve as attorneys debt collectors,” Worden said.

Worden said that the blows didn’t end there. She said that she was stunned to learn that the judge in the case signed an order to move forward with the request to reopen the case without hearing from either party involved. 

Since the amicus attorney Claudia Canales was appointed in 2018, Worden claims that she racked up excessive bills. Worden said in December she was charged $1,350 for Canales to attend McClain's launch. 

“I said there is no purpose of her attending that launch" and that doing so "there will create a bias if there wasn’t already a bias,” Worden said. 

For her portion, Worden said she has already paid more than $7,500 in fees and she has never had the opportunity to meet with the amicus attorney face-to-face. 

“This is just another opportunity to take a strike at making some money and it doesn’t have anything to do with the best interest of the child or what the actual parties are desiring in this," Worden said.

Canales would not comment on the allegations. KPRC reached out to Judge Linda Dunson, but has not received a response. 

Worden said that she doesn’t know what will happen next but this feels like a case that will never end. 

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