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In re JDH Applying for Intrafamily Adoption

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

November 5, 2014

IN RE: JDH APPLYING FOR INTRAFAMILY ADOPTION

APPEAL FROM THE THIRTY-EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF CAMERON, NO. 200-0234. HONORABLE PENELOPE RICHARD, DISTRICT JUDGE.

W. Thomas Barrett, III, Attorney at Law, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: HDD.

Todd H. Melton, Todd H. Melton, L.L.C., Attorney at Law, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLANTS: JDH, TBH.

Court composed of Jimmie C. Peters, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.

OPINION

Page 652

[14-561 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] PICKETT, Judge.

TBH[1] and JDH appeal the trial court's determination that a provision in the Agreement for Post-Adoption Continuing Contact (Agreement) they entered with HDD regarding his continuing contact with his daughter, ABH[2] is " void as against public policy in this case." They also appeal the trial court's enforcement of the Agreement and modification of HDD's visitation with ABH. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

TBH and HDD married in 2005, and ABH was born in June 2006. In August 2008, TBH and HDD divorced. TBH married JDH in September 2009, and JDH filed a Petition for Intrafamily Adoption to adopt ABH in July 2012. In his petition, JDH alleged that HDD' consent to the adoption was not required because HDD had failed to maintain contact with ABH for a period exceeding twelve months and to pay child support as ordered by the trial court. HDD answered the Petition, and on January 24, 2011, a hearing was held on the adoption. At the hearing, HDD voluntarily consented to the adoption in exchange for visitation with ABH as set forth in the Agreement executed by the parties the day of the hearing. That same day, the trial court signed a Final Decree and Judgment of Adoption.

Pursuant to the Agreement, HDD was to have the following visitation with ABH:

[T]hree full twenty-four hour days of visitation with the minor child, ABH, per month, said visitation to commence at the time of the [14-561 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] execution hereof. The particular days of visitation each month shall be discussed and determined by the parties hereto during the week prior to the beginning of each month, and due consideration shall be given to the schedules of all concerned particularly those of [HDD's mother and sister].

The Agreement conditioned HDD's visitation with ABH on his making payments toward the arrearages he owed TBH in child support. Specifically, the Agreement provided:

[HDD] shall make payments in the amount of FIVE HUNDRED AND NO/00 ($500) DOLLARS per month by cashier's check or money order to the office of Attorney Allen McCall on or before the 12th day of each month, said payments representing arrearages owed for the support of the minor child, ABH. In the event of a default on any of these payments, JDH and TBH shall have the

Page 653

option to withhold future ...

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