from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Ouachita, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 2013-1222 Honorable
Alvin R. Sharp, Judge
L. KNEIPP Counsel for Appellant
OFFICES OF MASON L. OSWALT By: Mason L. Oswalt Counsel for
BROWN, PITMAN, and COX, JJ.
Ashlee Tidwell appeals the trial court's judgment in
favor of Defendant-Appellee Todd Michael Tidwell. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
parties married in October 1995 and had two daughters. On
April 16, 2013, Ms. Tidwell filed a petition for divorce
under La. C.C. art. 102 and sought child custody, child
support, interim and final spousal support and partition of
community property. Mr. Tidwell filed an answer and
reconventional demand under La. C.C. art. 103, alleging that
Ms. Tidwell committed adultery and was at fault for the
breakdown of the marriage.
February 2014, the parties entered into a joint stipulation
and consent judgment and resolved the issues of child
support, child custody and interim spousal support. Relevant
to this appeal, the parties agreed that Mr. Tidwell would pay
interim spousal support to Ms. Tidwell in the amount of $1,
800 per month, retroactive to May 1, 2013; that Mr. Tidwell
would pay the house note on the former matrimonial domicile
(the "Domicile") and the car note on the 2010
Chevrolet Suburban (the "Suburban") for the
duration of the interim spousal support award period; and
that Ms. Tidwell would have exclusive use of the Domicile and
of the Suburban. They also agreed that Mr. Tidwell's
claim for rental value of Ms. Tidwell's exclusive use of
the Domicile should be deferred to be considered in the
community property partition.
March 5, 2014, Ms. Tidwell filed a rule to show cause why
permanent spousal support should not be awarded.
a hearing on the rule for divorce, the trial court determined
that Mr. Tidwell proved that Ms. Tidwell committed adultery.
On March 24, 2014, the trial court rendered judgment in favor
of Mr. Tidwell and granted a divorce based upon adultery. Ms.
Tidwell appealed. In Tidwell v. Tidwell, 49, 512
(La.App. 2 Cir. 11/19/14), 152 So.3d 1045, this court
affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
October 3, 2014, Ms. Tidwell filed a rule to show cause and
for contempt. She alleged that Mr. Tidwell had made sporadic
spousal support payments since May 1, 2013, and contended
that she was entitled to be paid the balance of the
arrearages with interest, attorney fees and court costs. She
also alleged that Mr. Tidwell advised her that he would stop
paying interim spousal support because the divorce was
granted based on adultery. She further alleged that he
violated the terms of the consent judgment that she would
have exclusive use of the Domicile when he entered the
Domicile when she was not present and removed items. She
requested that the trial court hold Mr. Tidwell in contempt
of court for failing and refusing to pay interim spousal
support and for violating the terms of the consent judgment
regarding use of the Domicile.
January 20, 2015, Mr. Tidwell filed a motion for the
exclusive use of the Domicile and the Suburban. He noted that
the divorce was finalized on March 24, 2014, and that his
interim spousal support obligation terminated on September
24, 2014. He stated that, since September 24, 2014, Ms.
Tidwell had refused to pay the house and car notes even
though she was living in the Domicile and had exclusive use
of the Suburban. He further stated that he continued to pay
those notes because his credit would be negatively affected
if the debts were not paid. He contended that, due to Ms.
Tidwell's refusal to pay the house and car notes, he
should be granted exclusive use of the Domicile and the
February 3, 2015, Ms. Tidwell filed a first supplemental and
amended rule to show cause and for contempt. She acknowledged
that a judgment of divorce based on adultery was filed on
March 24, 2014, and that Mr. Tidwell stopped paying interim
spousal support as of September 30, 2014. She noted that she
filed a suspensive appeal of the divorce judgment on March
28, 2014, and that the court of appeal rendered judgment on
November 19, 2014. She contended that the judgment of divorce
did not become final until November 19, 2014, and, therefore,
she was entitled to receive interim spousal support payments
and that Mr. Tidwell was required to pay the house and car
notes until May 19, 2015, i.e., 180 days from November 19,
2014. She argued that Mr. Tidwell was in arrears on the
interim spousal support payments because he had not paid
support from October 2014 to January 2015. She alleged that
Mr. Tidwell entered the Domicile on an additional occasion
while she was not home. She reiterated her request that the
trial court hold Mr. Tidwell in contempt of court for failing
and refusing to pay interim spousal support and for violating
the terms of the consent judgment regarding use of the
conference before a hearing officer was held on December 2,
2015, who recommended in his report that Ms. Tidwell's
rule of final spousal support should be dismissed; Mr.
Tidwell's rule for exclusive use of the Suburban is moot
and should be dismissed; Mr. Tidwell's rule for exclusive
use of the Domicile should be dismissed; Ms. Tidwell's
rule to have Mr. Tidwell ordered to pay interim spousal
support through May 19, 2015, is moot and should be
dismissed; Ms. Tidwell is entitled to past-due interim
spousal support payments; Mr. Tidwell be held in contempt ...