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A.T. v. D.M.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

May 11, 2018

A.T.
v.
D.M.

          Appeals from Calhoun Juvenile Court (JU-13-116.03, JU-13-117.03)

          DONALDSON, Judge.

         A.T. ("the mother") appeals from two judgments of the Calhoun Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court") ordering, respectively, that custody of D.T. and J.T. ("the children") be modified by transferring sole physical custody from the mother to D.M. ("the father"). We conclude that the mother's notices of appeal were untimely filed and dismiss the appeals.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On July 29, 2016, the father filed a separate petition for each child in the juvenile court, which had previously determined the father's paternity of the children, alleging "[t]hat due to present circumstances" it would be in the best interest of the children to establish custody with the father or, in the alternative, to grant the father "placement time" with the children. See § 12-15-115(a)(7), Ala. Code 1975 ("A juvenile court shall ... exercise original jurisdiction of ... [p]roceedings to establish, modify, or enforce support, visitation, or custody when a juvenile court previously has established parentage."). The mother filed an answer to each petition; she also filed motions to dismiss the actions, which the juvenile court denied. On June 26, 2017, and August 22, 2017, the juvenile court held a final hearing, at which the juvenile court heard testimony concerning each of the petitions filed by the father. On September 1, 2017, the juvenile court rendered a judgment, which was entered in each action, stating, in pertinent part:

"Upon evidence and testimony presented, the Court finds as follows:
"1. That the father proved that he is a fit and proper person to have custody, and that a change in circumstances occurred. That, based on all of the testimony and evidence submitted at trial, the change in custody would materially promote the children's best interests and the positive good brought about by the change in custody would far outweigh any inherent disruption of the children's lives. Ex parte McLendon, 455 So.2d 863 (Ala. 1984).
"It is therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED as follows:
"A. Custody and Placement:
"1. The father ... is granted the general care, custody and control of the parties' minor children, [D.T.] ... and [J.T.] ... subject to the mother's right of placement. However, the exercise of this primary authority is not intended to negate the responsibility of both parties to notify and communicate with each other. In regard to decisions involving medical or dental emergencies, the parent having actual physical custody shall be authorized to obtain any emergency treatment necessary, without the mutual consent of both parties. Each party shall notify the other as to the dates and times of all conferences, programs or events relating to academic, religious, civic, athletic, and any other activities of the minor children, so as to afford both parties an opportunity to participate in such activity.
"2. The mother is awarded the following supervised visitation with the minor children:
"a. Every other weekend from Friday at 6:00 p.m. Alabama time until Sunday at 6:00 p.m. Alabama time, beginning the 15th day of September, 2017. The mother and father shall exchange the children at 6:00 p.m. Alabama time at the McDonald's located at the Douglasville, Georgia, exit off of I-20. The mother's sister, [L.H.], shall supervise the mother's visitation with the children. In the event the mother's sister is unable to supervise the mother's placement, the parties can agree upon an alternate supervisor or the mother can pay for a licensed supervisor.
"b. The mother shall begin unsupervised visitation when she presents a clean drug screen administered by a DOT certified ...

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