Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Walker v. Lanier

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

April 24, 2015

James Howard Walker
v.
Courtney Lanier

          Appeals from Lauderdale Circuit Court. (DR-07-9.02 and DR-07-9.03).

         For Appellant: Dinah P. Rhodes of Rhodes & Creech, L.L.C., Huntsville.

         For Appellee: Carla Putman Maples, Florence.

         THOMPSON, Presiding Judge. Pittman, Thomas, Moore, and Donaldson, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

Page 40

          THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.

         James Howard Walker (" the father" ) appeals from two judgments of the Lauderdale Circuit Court (" the trial court" ). In one judgment, the trial court denied the State of Alabama's request, on behalf of the father, for child support; in the other, the trial court modified the physical custody of the two children born of the father's marriage to Courtney R. Lanier (" the mother" ).

         In 2008, the trial court entered a judgment divorcing the parties. That judgment awarded primary physical custody of the children to the father and awarded the mother visitation. Although the divorce judgment is not contained in the record on appeal, the father claims that the parties agreed that the mother would not be required to pay any child support because, according to the father, she maintained only part-time employment at the time of the divorce.

         On August 23, 2010, the State of Alabama, on behalf of the father, filed in the trial court a petition to modify the parties' divorce judgment. That petition was assigned case number DR-07-9.02 (" the child-support case" ) in the trial court. In its petition, the State alleged that the children's needs had increased since the divorce judgment and that the State had reason to believe the mother was financially capable of contributing toward the children's support. Thus, the State requested, among other things, that the trial court order the mother to pay child support for the benefit of the children. The mother answered the State's petition and denied the allegations contained therein.

         On December 20, 2010, the mother filed in the trial court a single pleading containing a petition for contempt and a request to modify visitation. That pleading was assigned case number DR-07-9.03 (hereinafter sometimes referred to as " the custody-modification case" ) in the trial court.[1] The mother alleged that the father had refused to cooperate with her regarding visitation. Thus, the mother asked that the trial court hold the father in contempt for his alleged failure to comply with the visitation provisions contained in the divorce judgment, and she asked the trial court to increase her visitation with the

Page 41

children. The father answered the mother's pleading and denied the allegations contained therein.

         Before the trial court held a hearing on either case, the mother filed an " Emergency Motion for an Immediate Change in Custody" in case number DR-07-9.03 on March 30, 2012. In that motion, the mother alleged that she had evidence indicating that the father had physically abused the children. The mother indicated that the Lauderdale County Department of Human Resources and the Lauderdale County district attorney's office were investigating the allegations and that she expected criminal charges to be filed. Thus, the mother asked the trial court to enter a judgment awarding " temporary" physical custody of the children to her and, after a hearing, to enter a judgment awarding primary physical custody of the children to her. The father filed in the trial court a response denying the allegations of abuse.

         The trial court consolidated the two cases and received evidence at three hearings held between July 2012 and September 2013. Other than a few motions to continue, there is no explanation in the record for the delay between the first and final hearings. On May 5, 2014, before the trial court had entered judgments in the two cases, the mother filed in the trial court a " Renewed Ex-parte Motion for Custody." It is unclear from the record why the trial court had yet to enter judgments after concluding the hearings in September 2013. In her motion, the mother claimed that, since the conclusion of the trial, she had received new evidence indicating that the father had committed domestic violence. Thus, the mother requested that the trial court grant her " ex parte, temporary custody" of the children and that the trial ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.