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12/02/94 DEANA SHARON DOTSON COHN v. JEFFREY LEE

December 2, 1994

DEANA SHARON DOTSON COHN
v.
JEFFREY LEE COHN



APPEALED FROM: Etowah Circuit Court. Donald W. Stewart, TRIAL JUDGE. Original Opinion of October 7, 1994, .

Certiorari Denied March 3, 1995. Released for Publication July 5, 1995. Reported at: 658 So. 2d 479 at 482.

Thigpen, Judge. Robertson, P.j., and Yates, J., concur.

On Application for Rehearing

THIGPEN, Judge

Although our original opinion adequately addresses the issues on appeal, we are compelled to extend that opinion on rehearing to reiterate that we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court's judgment regarding the issues concerning territorial restriction and visitation. On application for rehearing, the mother, pursuant to Rule 39(k), A.R.App.P., requests that this court extend its opinion to include a statement of additional facts, and ultimately, to rule in her favor on those issues.

The trial court heard four days of testimony from a seemingly endless parade of witnesses, including psychiatrists, school teachers, members of the clergy, and family members. Those proceedings yielded approximately 1000 pages of transcript, and the record consisted of nine volumes. That public record clearly supports the trial court's judgment. Furthermore, the trial Judge in this case was not a stranger to the proceedings or to these parties, having presided over the parties' original divorce action and over subsequent post-divorce proceedings. It is impractical and unnecessary for this court to include every factual detail the mother has asked us to include; to do so would add nothing to existing precedent and would not aid in the Disposition of this case. The initial agreement, which was incorporated into the divorce judgment, contains, in part, the following ambiguous language:

"The parties mutually agree that they shall have joint custody of their minor children, and further agree they will reside in Etowah County, Alabama, and have the children reside within a radius of seventy-five (75) miles of Gadsden, Alabama, until the children are each nineteen (19) years of age or leave home to attend school."

The mother now attempts to escape the binding force of that agreement, which she herself participated in drafting. That agreement also contained a provision regarding mid-week visitation.

The trial court's order simply clarified and enforced its own prior order. The trial court held that the mother was "enjoined and restrained from removing the minor children ... from Etowah County, Alabama, pending further orders of this Court." It appears that the trial court interpreted the mother's impending relocation as a violation of the agreed territorial restriction. "A trial court possesses an inherent power over its own judgments that enables it to interpret, implement, or enforce those judgments." Grayson v. Grayson, 628 So. 2d 918, 919 (Ala. Civ. App. 1993). Ambiguous provisions may be clarified by a trial court's order, and a clarifying order is not a modification. Grayson, (supra) . Therefore, the mother's contentions regarding modification are without merit.

Additionally, the mother's contention that the trial court's injunction is gender-based is meritless. The trial court's order interpreting the prior order and enjoining the mother from removing the children from Etowah County is based upon the mother's threatened violation; the record contains nothing to indicate that the father was threatening to violate the prior order. A trial court has the inherent power to enforce its own judgments. Graham v. Graham, 555 So. 2d 1126 (Ala. Civ. App. 1989).

OPINION EXTENDED; RULE 39(k) MOTION DENIED; APPLICATION FOR REHEARING OVERRULED.

Robertson, P.J., and Yates, J., concur.

19941202

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