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Freebeck v. Freebeck

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

February 2, 2018

Kellie Flynn Freebeck
v.
Norman John Freebeck Norman John Freebeck
v.
Kellie Flynn Freebeck

         Appeals from Lauderdale Circuit Court (DR-15-900293)

          MOORE, JUDGE.

         In appeal number 2160528, Kellie Flynn Freebeck ("the wife") appeals from a divorce judgment entered by the Lauderdale Circuit Court ("the trial court"); in appeal number 2160561, Norman John Freebeck ("the husband") cross-appeals from that same judgment.

         Procedural History

         On September 29, 2015, the wife filed a complaint seeking a divorce from the husband. On October 6, 2015, the husband filed an answer. The trial court entered an order on October 20, 2015, that, among other things, awarded the wife pendente lite custody of the parties' children, M.F., whose date of birth is June 24, 2001, and S.F. and H.F., twins whose date of birth is March 3, 2004.

         On June 6, 2016, the wife filed an emergency motion requesting that the trial court approve her relocation with the parties' children to Alexandria, Louisiana. On June 8, 2016, the husband filed an objection to the proposed relocation; he also filed a motion seeking custody of the children. On June 15, 2016, the wife filed a notice of relocation. A guardian ad litem was appointed for the children on June 16, 2016. The husband filed an objection to the notice of relocation on June 23, 2016. On June 27, 2016, the wife responded to the husband's objection to her notice of relocation. The wife filed a revised notice of relocation on July 8, 2016. On August 9, 2016, the trial court orally granted the wife's request to relocate to Alexandria, Louisiana, with the children.

         After a trial, the trial court entered a final judgment on January 5, 2017, that, among other things, divorced the parties, divided the parties' marital property, and awarded the wife "$2, 000.00 ... per month for a period of 84 months as rehabilitative/periodic alimony." With regard to custody, the parties were awarded joint legal custody of the children and the wife was awarded "primary" physical custody of the children.[1] The judgment specifically stated: "If the parties cannot agree on legal custody issues, [the husband] will have ultimate decision making authority related to any and all medical, psychological, mental, and orthodontic care. If the parties cannot agree, [the wife] shall have ultimate decision making authority concerning religious, cultural, athletic and academic affairs."

         With regard to the husband's visitation, the judgment provided that the husband would have visitation with the children on any weekend in which the children have a "long weekend" (defined as "the children are out of school any day or days before Saturday and/or the children are out of school on any day after Sunday"), and provided that the husband has the option of exercising that visitation in Alexandria or at his residence in Alabama. For any month not containing a "long weekend, the husband was to have visitation the first weekend of that month in Alexandria. In addition, the husband was awarded visitation the third weekend of every month, and he has the option of exercising that visitation in Alexandria or at his residence in Alabama. The husband was also awarded visitation during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, during the children's "spring break" from school, and during the summer "beginning the first Saturday in June to the second Saturday in July and Saturday to Saturday the last full week of July." The judgment further provided: "Every time [the husband] drives the entire distance to Alexandria for visitation, [the wife] will be required to deliver the children to Florence on the next scheduled visitation."

         The husband was ordered to pay $1, 791 a month in child support, and the parties were ordered to "split all uncovered medical, hospitalization, dental and opthamolog[y] expenses incurred by the minor children."

         On January 27, 2017, the wife filed a postjudgment motion challenging, among other things, the trial court's award of alimony, the trial court's visitation schedule, and the trial court's award to the husband of ultimate decision-making authority regarding the children's medical, psychological, mental, and orthodontic care. On February 3, 2017, the husband filed a postjudgment motion. The wife filed an amendment to her postjudgment motion on February 6, 2017. On February 21, 2017, the trial court entered separate orders denying the parties' respective postjudgment motions.

         On April 3, 2017, the wife filed her notice of appeal. On April 12, 2017, the husband filed his notice of cross-appeal.

         Discussion

         I. The Wife's Appeal -- Appeal No. 2160528

         On appeal, the wife first argues that the trial court erred in denying her ...


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