JOSEPH R. LAROCCA
ELOISA C. LAROCCA
ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 703-285, DIVISION " H" . HONORABLE GLENN B. ANSARDI, JUDGE PRESIDING.
JEFFREY W. BENNETT, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Harahan, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.
DONALD L. HYATT, II, ATTORNEY AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.
LESLIE A. BONIN, ATTORNEY AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.
Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Marc E. Johnson, dissenting, and Robert M. Murphy. JOHNSON, J., DISSENTS WITH REASONS.
ROBERT M. MURPHY,
[2014-0255 La.App. 5 Cir. 1] Joseph R. LaRocca (Mr. LaRocca) appeals the decision of the trial court to extend the payment of interim spousal support awarded to Eloisa C. LaRocca (Ms. LaRocca) beyond 180 days after the entry of the judgment of divorce. Ms. LaRocca assigns as error the reduction in the amount of interim spousal support from $7000.00 originally awarded on July 3, 2012 to $3,500.00 awarded on August 8, 2013. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court's rulings and deny Ms. LaRocca the relief sought.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The parties were married on March 3, 2000. There were no children born of their marriage, though both had adult children. On June 29, 2011, Mr. LaRocca filed a petition for divorce and determination of incidental matters. On July 26, 2011, Ms. LaRocca filed a rule for interim and final periodic spousal support. On November 18, 2011, the Domestic Hearing Officer recommended that Mr. LaRocca pay Ms. LaRocca $8,400 per month, to which Mr. LaRocca filed a timely objection on November 21, 2011. After hearings on June 13 and July 3, 2012, the [2014-0255 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] trial court granted the objection, reducing the interim spousal support to $7,000 per month.
Judgment of divorce was rendered on June 19, 2012. Mr. LaRocca then filed a rule to determine fault and to terminate spousal support, which was heard on October 23, November 7, and December 12, 2012. In a February 26, 2013 judgment, the trial court found Ms. LaRocca to be free from fault and entitled to final spousal support " in an amount to be determined."
[2014-0255 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] On March 18, 2013, Mr. LaRocca's Motion and Order for Appeal of the February 26, 2013 Judgment finding Ms. LaRocca free from fault was granted by the trial court, over her objection. On March 25, 2013, Ms. LaRocca filed a motion to set the matter of final periodic support for hearing, but the trial court denied her motion, citing the pending appeal as an impediment. On April 22, 2013, Ms. LaRocca filed a writ with this Court, asking that the unlodged appeal be dismissed, as the February 26, 2013 ruling was not a final or appealable judgment or an interlocutory judgment for which an appeal could be taken.
Coincidentally, with her pending writ application on April 16, 2013, Ms. LaRocca filed a rule to extend interim spousal support, to which Mr. LaRocca filed an exception of no cause of action. On April 29, 2013, the Domestic Commissioner granted an exception of No Right of Action, finding that Mr. LaRocca's final payment had been made in December of 2012, and that the obligation had extinguished by operation of law in accordance with La. C.C. art. 113. Ms. LaRocca filed a timely objection to this finding on April 30, 2013.
On May 13, 2013, this Court issued its ruling on Ms. LaRocca's pending writ dismissing Mr. LaRocca's unlodged appeal. On May 30, 2013 the trial court heard Ms. LaRocca's objection to the Domestic Commissioner's ruling of April 29, 2013, and reversed the ruling in a Judgment entered on June 11, 2013.
In a subsequent hearing held by the trial court on June 27, 2013, the trial court made a finding that Ms. LaRocca had shown " good cause" for the extension of interim support as required by La. C.C. art. 113, and a Judgment was issued July 8, 2013. The trial court then set the matter for the determination of the amount of support for July 15, 2013.
On July 10, 2013, Mr. LaRocca filed a notice of intent to take writs with a request for a stay in the trial court. The stay and in due course, the writ, were denied. With no specific support amount determined by the trial court, this Court declined to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction. 13-565 (La.App. 5 Cir. 7/29/13) (unpublished writ disposition). At the July 15, 2013 hearing to set the amount of support due, the trial court ruled from the bench and subsequently executed a written judgment on August 8, 2013. The trial court then set the extended interim spousal support at $3,500 per month.
On August 13, 2013, Mr. LaRocca filed a notice of intent to seek writs; on August 14, 2013, the duty judge extended the previous return date of August 14, 2013 to September 14, 2013. This Court subsequently denied the writ, holding that a judgment setting an amount of interim spousal support was a final appealable judgment, and that Mr. LaRocca had an adequate remedy on appeal. 13-753 (La.App. 5 Cir. 10/7/13) (unpublished writ disposition). On July 31, 2013, Mr. LaRocca filed a motion and order of appeal; the trial court granted Mr. LaRocca's devolutive appeal on September 23, 2013.
[2014-0255 La.App. 5 Cir. 4] ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR
Appellant, Mr. LaRocca, assigns the following errors by the trial court.
1. The trial court erred in sustaining the objection by Ms. LaRocca to the Domestic Commissioner's ruling granting the Exception of No Right of Action pursuant to Ms. LaRocca filing a Motion to Extend Interim Spousal Support ...