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Fox v. Arnold

Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama

August 10, 2012

Ryann E. FOX
v.
Jeremy S. ARNOLD.

Page 418

Valerie L. Goudie, Anniston, for appellant.

Trudie Anne Phillips, Anniston, for appellee.

MOORE, Judge.

Ryann E. Fox (" the mother" ) appeals from a custody-modification judgment of the Calhoun Circuit Court that awarded Jeremy S. Arnold (" the father" ) primary physical custody of the parties' children, J.A.A., who was born on February 14, 2003, and A.A., who was born on August 18, 2004 (sometimes hereinafter referred to collectively as " the children" ). We dismiss the mother's appeal as untimely filed.

Background

On August 28, 2007, the father filed a contempt petition against the mother in the Shelby Circuit Court. The father asserted that a judgment of divorce dissolving his marriage to the mother had been entered by the Shelby Circuit Court on August 13, 2006, and had been amended by that court on February 15, 2007. The father asserted that, as amended, the divorce judgment awarded him supervised visitation with the children, which visitation was to be supervised by the children's maternal grandparents, and ordered that his visitation with the children was to progress to overnight unsupervised visitation as of August 1, 2007. The father further asserted that he had complied with all the requirements set forth in the divorce judgment, as modified, but that the mother had refused to allow him the visitation to which he was entitled.

The mother answered the father's contempt petition, denying his allegations and asserting that, in the divorce judgment, as amended, she had been awarded sole custody of the children, that the father had been ordered to pay child support, and that, as a result of the father's improper conduct, the Shelby Circuit Court had required the father's visitation with the children to be supervised. The mother further asserted that the father had failed to comply with the conditions set forth in the divorce judgment, as amended, in order for him to obtain unsupervised visitation. The mother also counterclaimed for a child-support modification and requested that, because both she and the father were residing in Calhoun County, the cause be transferred to the Calhoun Circuit Court. The Shelby Circuit Court transferred the cause to the Calhoun Circuit Court (" the trial court" ) on February 7, 2008.

On July 24, 2008, the father amended his pleadings to request a modification of custody and to request that the mother be held in contempt for failing to comply with the Alabama Parent-Child Relationship Protection Act, Ala.Code 1975, ยง 30-3-160 et seq.

In September 2008, the trial court entered a pendente lite order, approving the parties' stipulated agreement regarding the father's visitation pending a final hearing. In that order, the trial court noted that, although the father continued to object to supervised visitation, to the mother's relocation to Georgia with the children, and to her continued custody of the children, the parties had agreed, among other things, that the father's wife would supervise his visitation with the children pending a final hearing.

On August 24, 2009, the mother moved the trial court to suspend the father's visitation, raising concerns of improper supervision during the children's visits with the father and asserting that, based on the children's reports, the children's counselor

Page 419

had filed a report identifying the children as " at risk."

Also on August 24, 2009, the father filed another contempt petition, asserting that he had had no contact with the children since August 2, 2009. On September 1, 2009, the trial court scheduled a hearing on the father's August 24 contempt petition, but, on that same date, the trial court granted the mother's motion to suspend the father's visitation.

On September 3, 2009, the father responded to the mother's motion to suspend his visitation. He challenged the exhibits the mother had submitted in support of her ...


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