FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST.
LANDRY, NO. 16-C-2314-A HONORABLE JAMES P. DOHERTY JR.,
Sibille Piccione Piccione & Piccione COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Brock Taylor Gary
Babin Piccione & Piccione COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Brock Taylor Gary
L. Williams Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE:
Ali Renee LeBlanc
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Billy Howard Ezell, and Van H.
Taylor Gary, the plaintiff, seeks the reversal of the trial
court judgment in favor of Ali Renee LeBlanc, mother of the
parties' minor child, granting the parties joint custody
of the child but designating her as the principal custodial
parent, ordering him to pay child support, and denying his
request to amend the child's birth certificate changing
the child's last name to "Gary". For the
following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court
as amended herein.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Taylor Gary and Ali Renee LeBlanc are the unmarried parents
of Alaia Claire LeBlanc, who was born in October of 2008.
Both LeBlanc and Gary were 16 years old at the time. The
parties acknowledge that the child has lived with LeBlanc as
the domiciliary parent since her birth, with Gary exercising
regular visitation every other weekend and occasional
vacations and paying a mutually agreed upon amount in child
support since the child was two months of age, though there
was no formal or signed agreement.
of 2016, Gary became aware of an incident that occurred in
March of the same year in which Alaia, the minor child,
allegedly witnessed her four-year-old half-brother being
sexually molested and choked by her maternal
grandmother's boyfriend. LeBlanc and her three children,
Alaia and two half-brothers, primarily live with
LeBlanc's mother, as well as occasional time spent living
with a Travis Bergeron, LeBlanc's boyfriend and father of
her third child. Alaia has resided with LeBlanc at
LeBlanc's mother's home for the majority of her life.
response to the incident concerning Alaia's half-brother
and alleging other factors, Gary petitioned the trial court
to name him as domiciliary parent and asked that the
child's last name be changed from LeBlanc to Gary.
LeBlanc answered the suit and filed a reconventional demand
for child support. When rendering its judgment, the trial
court specifically took into consideration the requirements
of La.Civ.Code art. 134, which provides a non-exclusive list
of twelve factors to determine the child's best interest,
as well as the Louisiana child support worksheets. The trial
court awarded the parties joint custody of the child and
designated LeBlanc as the domiciliary parent, setting
scheduled custodial visitation in favor of Gary. The trial
court denied Gary's name change request, and ordered Gary
to pay child support in the sum of $941.49 per month. This
appeal, Gary asserts three assignments of error by the trial
court. They are as follows:
1. The trial court erred in awarding domiciliary status to a
mother with unstable relationships, inappropriate housing
arrangements, and questionable regard for her child's
health and well-being.
2. The trial court erred as a matter of law in its ruling on
a request for the child's name to be changed.
3. The trial court erred in failing to consider the
child's time with Mr. Gary as a basis for adjustment to
the amount of child support to be paid during that period of
time and in using bonuses in the calculation of child support
standard of review in child custody cases has been clearly
stated by this court:
The trial court is in a better position to evaluate the best
interest of the child from its observances of the parties and
witnesses; thus, a trial court's determination in a child
custody case is entitled to great weight on appeal and will
not be disturbed unless there is a clear abuse of discretion.
Hawthorne v. Hawthorne, 96-89 (La.App. 3 Cir.
5/22/96), 676 So.2d 619, 625, writ denied, 96-1650
(La. 10/25/96), 681So.2d365.
Gremillion v. Gremillion, 07-492 (La.App. 3 Cir.
10/3/07) 966 So.2d 1228, 1231- 32. The procedure to be
followed by appellate courts in determining whether an abuse
of discretion ...