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E.L. v. C.P.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

March 15, 2019

E.L.
v.
C.P.

Page 868

          Appeal from Houston Circuit Court, (DR-17-233.00). Jimmy Kevin Moulton, Judge

         Kris R. Patton of Akridge & Balch, P.C., Auburn, for appellant.

         Kristy M. Kirkland, Dothan, for appellee.

         OPINION

         DONALDSON, Judge.

          E.L. ("the father") appeals from a judgment of the Houston Circuit Court ("the trial court") that adjudicates his paternity of E.N.L.P., places sole physical custody of E.N.L.P. with C.P. ("the mother"), provides the father with visitation, and orders him to pay child support. In his complaint, the father sought an adjudication of those matters regarding E.N.L.P. as well as another child, J.T.P.G. The judgment, however, reserved those issues pertaining to J.T.P.G. pending genetic testing to determine whether the father is the biological father of J.T.P.G. As a result, the father has appealed from a nonfinal judgment, and we must dismiss the appeal.

          Facts and Procedural History

         On June 19, 2017, the father filed a complaint against the mother in the Lee Circuit Court. In the complaint, the father sought an adjudication of paternity of E.N.L.P. and the mother’s unborn child.[1] Regarding the unborn child, the father sought genetic testing to determine their biological relationship. The father also sought sole physical custody of both of the children, visitation for the mother, and child support from the mother. On July 20, 2017, the mother gave birth to J.T.P.G., the unborn child referenced in the father’s complaint.

          On July 19, 2017, the mother filed a motion in the Lee Circuit Court requesting a change of venue to Houston County. On the same date, the Lee Circuit Court entered an order granting the motion. The trial court received the materials for the paternity action and docketed the paternity action as case number DR-17-233.00 ("the .00 case").

          On July 20, 2017, the father filed in the Lee Circuit Court a motion to reconsider the change of venue. On August 4, 2017, the Lee Circuit Court entered an order granting the father’s motion and purporting to set aside its July 19, 2017, order. In the August 4, 2017, order, the Lee Circuit Court noted that the change of venue had been completed and that a change of venue back to Lee County might require an order from the trial court.

          On August 4, 2017, the father filed a motion in the trial court seeking to change the venue of the paternity action back to Lee County. On August 7, 2017, the trial court entered an order granting the father’s motion. Proceedings in the paternity action purported to continue in the Lee Circuit Court.

          On September 5, 2017, the mother filed a petition for a writ of mandamus challenging the authority of the Lee Circuit Court to have entered any orders after the entry of its July 19, 2017, order changing the venue of the action, including its August 4, 2017, order purporting to set aside the July 19, 2017, order, and also challenging

Page 869

the authority of the trial court to enter its August 7, 2017, order purporting to change the venue of the paternity ...


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