from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Ouachita, Louisiana Lower Court No. 2015-2423 Honorable Alvin
R. Sharp, Judge
OFFICES OF MASON L. OSWALT Counsel for Appellant By: Mason L.
FLOYD HAMMOND In Proper Person
MOORE, LOLLEY, and COX, JJ.
"Beth" Hammond appeals a judgment that awarded her
and her ex-husband, John Hammond, joint custody of the
couple's two minor sons but omitted any mention of her
claims for child support, the dependent tax credit and
spousal support. Finding an abuse of discretion, we amend the
judgment and, as amended, render.
and John got married in March 2005, in Arkansas, and
eventually moved to Ouachita Parish, where most of her family
(and none of his) was from. They had two boys together, born
in 2002 and 2009. John left the matrimonial domicile in June
2014 and moved to Oklahoma.
filed a petition for Art. 102 divorce in August 2015. She
requested joint custody of the boys with herself as primary
domiciliary parent, child support, the dependent tax credit
and spousal support. She attached a detailed plan of
implementation. She alleged that John had picked up the boys
for a six-week vacation in June 2014 but had never brought
them back to West Monroe.
answered and reconvened in November 2015, seeking an Art. 103
divorce. He demanded primary custody of the boys but did not
submit a plan of implementation.
to Fourth Judicial District rules, the matter was referred to
a Hearing Officer Conference ("HOC") on November
18, 2015, before Hearing Officer Chuck Traylor. Hearing
Officer Traylor made extensive findings of fact, recommending
joint custody with Beth as the domiciliary parent, subject to
standard alternating-weekend visitation, alternating
holidays, and split three-week periods during the summer. He
also made detailed findings of fact regarding the
parties' financial situations, recommending that John pay
child support of $628.00 per month, in two equal
installments, that Beth receive the dependent tax credit,
that John pay interim periodic spousal support of $300.00 per
month, and that child and spousal support debts be made
retroactive to the date of judicial demand.
objected to the HOC recommendation, particularly the
designation of Beth as domiciliary parent, the unworkable
alternating-weekend visits (Elk City, Oklahoma, is an almost
nine-hour drive to West Monroe, each way), the award of
spousal support, retroactivity of the child support, and
various particulars of the visitation plan.
December 17, 2015, Judge Robert Johnson signed a
"temporary order" making the HOC report the order
of the court "pending the final disposition of issues by
the court." At some point, the case was reassigned to
Judge Alvin Sharp.
parties appeared for trial on May 25, 2016. In a very brief,
morning session, Judge Sharp granted them a divorce and