CHRISTI R. GUSTE
BERNARD GUSTE, JR.
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2014-07419,
DIVISION "K" Honorable Bernadette D'Souza,
Richard G. Perque, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT
Franz Keith R. Credo PAT M. FRANZ & ASSOCIATES, L.L.C.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Daniel L. Dysart,
Judge Rosemary Ledet
L. Dysart, Judge
this domestic matter, Christi R. Guste appeals the trial
court's rulings on child support and custody. Ms. Guste
argues that the trial court committed several errors with
regard to the award of child support, and with regard to an
evidentiary issue at trial. For the reasons that follow, we
affirm the the trial court's decision.
Ms. Guste and Bernard Guste, Jr., appellee, were married on
June 5, 2010. They resided in Orleans Parish, and at the time
of trial, had two children, ages four and two.
Guste filed a Petition for Divorce as well as other matters,
including child support and custody, on July 29, 2014. After
a failed mediation attempt, the trial court ordered a custody
evaluation. The parties thereafter entered into a Consent
Judgment dated March 5, 2015, wherein Mr. Guste was ordered
to pay $600 per month child support for the children, with an
additional $500 per month for the children's tuition.
on the divorce and other matters commenced on June 23, 2015,
and was heard over four days concluding on August 26, 2015. A
final judgment, along with reasons, was rendered on September
23, 2015. The trial court awarded joint, shared custody of
the children, with equal physical custody. Mr. Guste was
ordered to pay $533.70 per month as child support.
Guste makes several assignments of error questioning the
trial court's child support award. Specifically, she
argues that the trial court erred in permitting Mr. Guste to
depreciate assets in calculating Mr. Guste's gross
income, in not making the child support award retroactive,
and in failing to order reimbursement of school tuition. She
also argues that the trial court erred in not admitting
certain medical records maintained by Dr. Luscher, who
conducted the custody evaluation.
first address the assignments of error concerning the support
award. The Louisiana legislature had established guidelines
for the implementation of child support. La. R.S. 9:315,
et seq. The guidelines are designed to fairly
apportion between the parents the mutual obligation they owe
to their children in an efficient, consistent and adequate
manner. Bickham v. Bickham, 46, 264, p. 8 (La.App. 2
Cir. 3/2/11), 58 So.3d 950, 956. Child support is to be
granted in proportion to the needs of the children and the
ability of the parents to provide support. La. Civ. Code art.
141; Bickham, 46, 264, p. 8, 58 So.3d at 956-57. An
appellate court is not to disturb a trial court's factual
findings absent an abuse of discretion or manifest error.
Rosell v. ESCO, 549 So.2d 840 (La. 1989).
first assignment of error, Ms. Guste argues that the trial
court erred in permitting Mr. Guste to depreciate certain
assets, thereby reducing his gross income for purposes of
determining child support. Mr. Guste owns several rental
properties in Orleans Parish. On his 2014 IRS 1040 form, he
claimed a ...