from Henry Circuit Court (DR-14-900049)
THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.
the second time these parties have been before this court.
The Henry Circuit Court ("the trial court") entered
a judgment in which it, in pertinent part, divorced Felicia
Wojtala ("the mother") and Thomas Wojtala
("the father"), awarded the mother custody of the
parties' two minor children, and ordered the father to
pay child support. The mother appealed, raising a number of
issues. In Wojtala v. Wojtala, 241 So.3d 37 (Ala.
Civ. App. 2017), this court, among other things, reversed
that part of the judgment addressing the issue of child
support. 241 So.3d at 40-42. This court determined, in
pertinent part, that the trial court had erred in allowing
the father certain credits against his $1, 594.01 per month
child-support obligation, resulting in the father owing only
$242 per month in child support. This court entered its
certificate of judgment on July 12, 2017.
13, 2017, the mother moved the trial court for a hearing to
address this court's holding in Wojtala v.
Wojtala, supra. The mother later moved for an award of
interest on unpaid child support. The trial court then asked
the parties to brief certain issues related to the award of
October 24, 2017, the trial court entered a judgment
redetermining the father's child-support obligation for
both children for the period of June 1, 2016, through May 1,
2017, to be $1, 527 per month. One of the children reached
the age of majority in May 2017, so the trial court
determined that the father's child-support obligation for
the remaining minor child was $1, 074 per month. The trial
court then determined that the difference between the amounts
it had awarded in the October 24, 2017, judgment and the
amount of child support the father had paid under the
original judgment that was reversed in Wojtala v.
Wojtala, supra, and it found that the father owed a
child-support arrearage of $15, 466. In addition to his
monthly child-support obligation, the trial court ordered the
father to pay $200 per month toward the accumulated
child-support arrearage. The father filed a postjudgment
motion, which was denied by the trial court. The father
appeal, the father argues only that the trial court erred in
making the child-support determination in the October 24,
2017, judgment "retroactive" to the date of the
original divorce judgment. The father relies on Shirley
v. Shirley, 361 So.2d 590 (Ala. Civ. App. 1978), in
support of his argument.
Shirley v. Shirley, supra, this court had earlier
reversed an alimony award and support provision of a divorce
judgment, and, on remand, the trial court recalculated those
obligations and determined that the effective date of the new
amounts was the date of this court's earlier decision and
judgment. This court affirmed, holding:
"The reversal of a judgment, or a part thereof, wholly
annuls it, or the part of it, as if it never existed.
Birmingham Elec. Co. v. Alabama Pub. Serv.
Comm'n, 254 Ala. 119, 47 So.2d 449 (1950). Another
judgment rendered by a court with jurisdiction must
thereafter replace it. Such was the effect of our reversal
and remandment with direction in this case."
Shirley v. Shirley, 361 So.2d at 591. In reaching
that holding, this court explained:
"A review of a final judgment on appeal is in effect a
new case. Murphy v. Stewart, 43 U.S. 263, 2 How.
263, 11 L.Ed. 261 (1844). The jurisdiction of the trial
court, at least in respect to the matters appealed is ousted
and jurisdiction is reposed in the appellate court until it
renders judgment with its mandate returning jurisdiction to
the trial court. Its judgment becomes the law of the case as
of that date. Douglass, Ex'r. v. City Council of
Montgomery, 124 Ala. 489, 27 So. 310 (1899). The
judgment by its terms may have retroactive application in
some instances, particularly where there may have been a
stay of the trial court's judgment. In the absence of
such direction, as in this case, the increase of support and
alimony directed by this court is effective on the date of
its judgment. It is our opinion that the rule applies even
when the appellate court reverses and renders, entering the
judgment the trial court should have entered under the
authority of § 12-22-70, Code of Alabama (1975)."
Id. (emphasis added).
on the holding of Shirley v. Shirley, supra, the
father contends that this court's decision in Wojtala
v. Wojtala, supra, nullified the child-support
provisions of the original divorce judgment and, therefore,
that the trial court's award of the correct amount of
child support could be effective only from the date of this
court's decision in Wojtala v. Wojtala, supra.
in Kreitzberg v. Kreitzberg, 80 So.3d 925 (Ala. Civ.
App. 2011) ("Kreitzberg I"), a husband
appealed the property-division and periodic-alimony
provisions of a judgment that divorced him from his wife.
This court reversed the periodic-alimony award on the ground
that the amount of that award was excessive, given the facts,
and, because matters of alimony and property division are
considered together, this court also reversed the property
division. Kreitzberg I, supra. On remand from
Kreitzberg I, the trial court in that case entered a
new judgment dividing the parties' marital property,
determining a new periodic-alimony award, and assessing an
alimony arrearage for periods during the pendency of
Kreitzberg I in which the husband had failed to make
any periodic-alimony payment to the wife. The husband
appealed, asserting several arguments pertaining to whether
the trial court in that case could establish an arrearage or
hold him in contempt for failing to pay periodic-alimony
during the pendency of the first appeal. Kreitzberg
v. Kreitzberg, 131 So.3d 612 (Ala. Civ. App
2013) ("Kreitzberg II").
Kreitzberg II, supra, the trial court redetermined
the husband's periodic-alimony obligation and ordered
that the husband pay an arrearage back to the time of the
original divorce judgment based on that newly redetermined
amount of periodic alimony. This court acknowledged that in
Shirley v.Shirley, supra, it had held that
the reversal of a judgment annuls that judgment.
Kreitzberg II, 131 So.3d at 626 (citing Shirley
v. Shirley, supra). However, this court concluded that
the trial court properly determined the husband's