(Montgomery Circuit Court, DR-97-168.03; Court of Civil
Appeals, 2121046 and 2130709).
Petitioner: James E. Long, Montgomery.
FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CIVIL
Van Jones, the father, contends that the Court of Civil
Appeals erred in affirming the trial court's order
awarding postminority educational support for his son,
Garrette Jones. We reverse and remand.
and Procedural History
Montgomery Circuit Court entered a final judgment divorcing
the father and Gaynor Jones, the mother, on January 8, 1998.
During their marriage, the father and the mother had two
children, Garrette and Gabrielle. In August 2011, the mother
petitioned the trial court for postminority educational
support for Garrette. After conducting a trial, the trial
court entered an order on April 26, 2013, awarding the mother
postminority educational support for Garrette. After the
postjudgment motions were disposed, the father filed a timely
notice of appeal with the Court of Civil Appeals on September
Court of Civil Appeals on April 11, 2014, entered an order
reinvesting the trial court with jurisdiction for 14 days for
the sole purpose of entering an amount or percentage of
postminority educational support. Jones v. Jones
(2121046). On April 18, 2014, the trial court entered an
order requiring the father to pay 100% of Garrette's
postminority educational support. The father, out of "
an abundance of caution," then moved the Court of Civil
Appeals for permission to appeal the April 18, 2014, order.
The Court of Civil Appeals granted the father permission to
appeal the April 18, 2014, order (case no. 2130709) and
consolidated the father's two appeals. On September 12,
2014, the Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the trial
court's judgment in both appeals, without an opinion, but
with a dissent from Judge Thomas. Jones v. Jones,
[Ms. 2121046 & 2130709, September 12, 2014] __ So.3d __, 181
So.3d 337, (Ala.Civ.App. 2014). Judge Thomas, in her dissent,
" I respectfully dissent as to the affirmance of the
trial court's award of postminority educational support.
On October 4, 2013, our supreme court released Ex parte
Christopher, 145 So.3d 60 (Ala. 2013), in which our
supreme court expressly overruled Ex parte Bayliss,
550 So.2d 986 (Ala. 1989). In overruling Bayliss, our supreme
court specifically held that,
" '[a]lthough [this] decision does not affect final
orders of postminority educational support already entered,
our overruling of Bayliss is applicable to all future cases.
Further, this decision also applies to current cases where no
final postminority-support order has been entered or where an
appeal from a postminority-support order is still
" Christopher, 145 So.3d at 72 (emphasis
" ... [A]t the time Christopher was decided, this case
was on appeal in this court and no final judgment awarding
postminority educational support had been entered.
" As I explained in my special writing in Morgan v.
Morgan, [Ms. 2120101, July 11, 2014] __ So.3d __, __
(Ala.Civ. 2014) (Thomas, J., concurring in part and
concurring in the result in part), the above-quoted language
in Christopher plainly states that the holding in Christopher
is applicable to any case in which an appeal of a
postminority-educational-support order was pending at the
time the supreme court's opinion in Christopher was
released. Furthermore, our supreme court clearly stated that
the holding in Christopher applied 'to current cases
where no final postminority-support order has been
entered.'145 So.3d at 72 (emphasis added). ... Therefore,
based on the supreme court's holding in Christopher that
'the child-custody statute does not authorize a court in
a divorce action to require a noncustodial ...