Ex parte Rebecca C. Collins
James Gary McNutt In re: Rebecca C. Collins
Opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in
the advanced sheet of the Southern Reporter.
(Madison Circuit Court, DR-08-452.02).
Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Pittman, Thomas, and Donaldson,
FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
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.
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.
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
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" ...