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Wilbanks v. Wilbanks

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit

February 4, 2015

TAYLOR KYLE WILBANKS, Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JESSICA WILBANKS, Defendant-Appellant

Appealed from the Fifth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Richland, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 43,216-B. Honorable James Mark Stephens, Judge.

SMITH & NWOKORIE, LLC, By: Anselm N. Nwokorie, Counsel for Appellant.

RICHARD L. FEWELL, JR., ROBERT THOMAS KNIGHT, Counsel for Appellee.

Before WILLIAMS, DREW and LOLLEY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 433

[49,743 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] DREW, J.

We review and affirm here a trial court's initial considered judgment granting sole custody of young children to their father and requiring supervised visitation when the mother has the children with her.

FACTS

Taylor Wilbanks and Jessica Wilbanks married on October 3, 2009, when they were very young. Soon after marriage, Taylor joined the army and the young couple was shipped to Alaska, along with an infant child. A second child was born in Alaska, where the couple lived unhappily for more than three years.[1]

Taylor suffered a hearing loss in the service and was honorably discharged. The young family moved back to northeast Louisiana on November 21, 2012, into a trailer belonging to his parents. Three weeks later, he walked out of the marriage, leaving Jessica and the children in the trailer.

Custody was litigated on January 31, 2014. Upon close of evidence, the trial court found Jessica to be immature, unstable, and totally lacking in credibility, as she lied several times in court. In particular, the trial court found that she lied about staying overnight with men at times when she had the children.

The judgment of divorce was signed immediately. The custody judgment was not signed until May 28, 2014, four months after trial.

Page 434

Jessica appeals, contending that the trial court erred: (1) by failing to [49,743 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] follow the guidelines[2] in deciding custody, (2) by awarding sole custody to the father, and (3) by ordering supervised visitation with no evidence of abuse or neglect on her part. There are no other extant issues.

TESTIMONY

Jessica Wilbanks testified that the initial recommendation of the hearing officer was that she be the custodial parent, with Taylor to have monthly visitation the first three weekends of each month and two weeks in the summer.[3] Taylor was to pay monthly $486 in child support and $300 in spousal support.

At the time of trial, he was behind on his spousal payments.

After Taylor left the mobile home, his parents allowed Jessica and the [49,743 La.App. 2 Cir. 3] children to stay in the trailer for about ...


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