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Ex parte Collins

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

June 19, 2015

Ex parte Rebecca C. Collins
v.
James Gary McNutt In re: Rebecca C. Collins

         Editorial Note:

         This Opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the advanced sheet of the Southern Reporter.

          (Madison Circuit Court, DR-08-452.02).

         MOORE, Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Pittman, Thomas, and Donaldson, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

Page 1037

         PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

         MOORE, Judge.

         Rebecca C. Collins (" the mother" ) seeks a writ of mandamus from this court directing the Madison Circuit Court (" the Alabama court" ) to dismiss an action filed by James Gary McNutt (" the father" ). We grant the petition and issue the writ.

         Background

         The Alabama court entered a judgment divorcing the parties in 2008. The mother received sole physical custody of the parties' child, subject to the visitation rights of the father, which were later modified in December 2012. The Alabama court also modified the judgment in August 2013 to require the father to pay child support in the amount of $950 per month. On December 17, 2014, the mother filed, in the Superior Court of Cherokee County, Georgia (" the Georgia court" ), a petition to modify the father's visitation rights. On January 2, 2015, the father filed, in the Alabama court, a petition for a finding of contempt based on the mother's alleged failure to comply with the visitation provisions of the amended divorce judgment and for modification of his child-support obligation. On February 6, 2015, the mother filed in the Alabama court a limited appearance and a motion to dismiss the father's petition. The Alabama court conducted a telephone conference with the judge from the Georgia court who was assigned to hear the mother's case and, subsequently, conducted an evidentiary hearing on the mother's motion to dismiss on March 11, 2015. The Alabama court denied the mother's motion to dismiss on March 18, 2015. The mother filed her petition for a writ of mandamus on April 27, 2015.

         Analysis

         The mother has not favored this court with a copy of her motion to dismiss, but we can glean from the materials provided to us that the mother argued in that motion that the Alabama court had lost continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over its initial custody determination under Ala. Code 1975, § 30-3B-202(a)(1), and that, even if it had retained jurisdiction, the Alabama court should decline to exercise that jurisdiction under § 30-3B-207, Ala. Code 1975. We initially note that both § 30-3B-202(a)(1) and § 30-3B-207 are part of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (" the UCCJEA" ), Ala. Code 1975, § 30-3B-101 et seq., which regulates interstate conflicts regarding jurisdiction over child-custody determinations. See Official Comment to § 30-3B-101. A " child custody determination" does not include " an order relating to child support or other monetary obligation of an individual." § 30-3B-102(3), Ala. Code 1975. Thus, the motion to dismiss filed by the mother did not apply to

Page 1038

that part of the father's petition seeking a modification of his child-support obligation. See Lattimore v. Lattimore,991 So.2d 239, 241 (Ala.Civ.App. 2008). Instead, the motion applied to solely that portion of the father's petition seeking enforcement of the visitation provisions of the amended divorce judgment, which is considered a " child custody determination" ...


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