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Miles v. Hunter

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit

November 20, 2014

REGINALD T. MILES
v.
TERIA R. HUNTER

On Appeal from The Family Court, In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana. Trial Court No. F187484. The Honorable Lisa Woodruff-White, Judge Presiding.

Mark D. Plaisance, Thibodaux, Louisiana and Kathleen M. Wilson, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Attorney for Plaintiff/Appellant, Reginald T. Miles.

Veronica Jones, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Attorney for Defendant/Appellee, Teria R. Hunter.

BEFORE: PARRO, McDONALD, AND CRAIN, JJ.

OPINION

Page 431

[2014 0669 La.App. 1 Cir. 2] CRAIN, J.

Reginald T. Miles appeals a judgment of the Family Court of East Baton Rouge

Page 432

Parish, which established custody and child support. We vacate in part and affirm.

FACTS

Miles and Teria Hunter are the biological parents of one child, born February 1, 2012. The parties were never married and ended their relationship soon after the child was born. By mutual agreement, the parties shared custody of the minor child, alternating physical custody every three days, and briefly every seven days. On October 29, 2012, Miles filed a petition for custody, asking that the family court award joint custody of the child, with him being named domiciliary parent, and that the family court order that Hunter pay him child support. On November 16, 2012, Hunter filed her own petition for custody and support. The parties then entered into a stipulated judgment, signed by the family court on January 23, 2013, setting forth that the parties would share physical custody of the child, on an interim basis, with Miles having custody of the child on alternating weeks from Thursday at 6:00 p.m. to Monday at 6:00 p.m., and on weeks he did not have weekend physical custody, from Thursday at 6:00 p.m. through Friday at 7:00 a.m. The stipulated judgment further ordered Miles to pay interim child support in the amount of $200.00 per month.

Within four months, Miles filed a rule for contempt, alleging that Hunter had violated provisions of the stipulated judgment and seeking a trial date for a custody determination. In her response, Hunter denied Miles' allegations and asserted a reconventional demand in which she sought an increase in the interim child support award set forth in the stipulated judgment. Hunter additionally averred that she should be allowed to claim the child as a dependent for both state and [2014 0669 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] federal income tax purposes. Thereafter, the parties entered into two stipulated judgments, both signed August 23, 2013. One, rendered after a May 28, 2013 hearing, dismissed the rule for contempt and modified the January 23, 2013 judgment only insofar as it imposed a right of first refusal in the event the child would be in the care of a third party. The other, rendered after a July 9, 2013 hearing, increased the interim child support that Miles was ordered to pay to $796.66, and stated that the retroactive child support issue would be determined at trial. It further stated that issues of final custody and income tax dependency were pretermitted until trial.

Trial in the matter was held September 30, 2013. After considering the testimony of both Miles and Hunter, as well as the evidence submitted by each, the family court entered judgment awarding the parties joint custody of the child, with Hunter the domiciliary parent, and Miles having physical custody on alternating Thursdays from daycare to Monday at daycare. On alternating weeks, Miles was awarded custody of the child on Wednesday from daycare through Friday morning when he would return the child to daycare. On Mondays opposite the Monday that he returns the child to daycare, Miles was awarded custodial time from daycare at 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Miles's monthly child support obligation was set in the amount of $1,006.32, less a credit of 28% of the child's portion of the insurance premiums commencing October 1, 2013. However, for the time period of October 29, 2012, to September 30, 2013 (the date this judgment was rendered), child support was set in the monthly amount of $1,035.16, less a credit of 28% of the child's portion of the insurance premiums, and a credit for all payments made pursuant to any prior child support order. The judgment further provided

Page 433

that all child support arrearages were made executory.

[2014 0669 La.App. 1 Cir. 4] Miles now appeals, contending that the family court erred in limiting his time periods of physical custody to a few days every other week, in awarding the final child support retroactive to the date he filed his petition for custody, in ordering that child support arrearages be made executory, and in failing to award him the federal and state tax dependency credits.

CUSTODY

Each child custody case must be viewed in light of its own particular facts and circumstances, with the paramount consideration being the best interest of the child. La. Civ. Code art. 131; Perry v. Monistere, 08-1629 (La.App. 1 Cir. 12/23/08), 4 So.3d 850, 852. Louisiana Civil Code article 134 directs that in determining the best ...


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