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Larson v. Larson

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

October 25, 2017

ROCHELLE PEIFFER LARSON
v.
EMILE GERARD LARSON

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 724-068, DIVISION "C" HONORABLE JUNE B. DARENSBURG, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, ROCHELLE PEIFFER LARSON Cindy H. Williams

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, EMILE GERARD LARSON Arita M. L. Bohannan Lauren Davey Rogers

          Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Robert M. Murphy, and Stephen J. Windhorst

          STEPHEN J. WINDHORST, JUDGE.

         Appellant, Emile Larson, seeks review of the trial court's April 29, 2016 judgment[1] granting Rochelle Larson interim spousal support and an increase in child support and denying Mr. Larson interim spousal support. For the reasons that follow, we amend the judgment and affirm as amended.

         Procedural Background

         Mr. Larson and Ms. Larson were married on June 26, 1999. On the same day, the parties executed a pre-nuptial agreement wherein the parties agreed they would remain separate in property and they renounced the establishment of a community of acquets and gains between them. Ms. Larson filed a petition for divorce on February 21, 2013, requesting child support and interim spousal support, and in due course, final spousal support. On February 26, 2013, Mr. Larson filed an answer and reconventional demand for divorce, requesting interim spousal support.

         On May 1, 2013, the hearing officer recommended that Mr. Larson pay Ms. Larson child support in the amount of $2, 066.00 per month, effective February 21, 2013, and ordered Mr. Larson to pay health insurance, and 78% of uncovered extraordinary medicals, school tuition, registration, mandatory fees, and extracurricular activities for the children. The hearing officer further recommended that once the parties obtained shared custody (50/50), Mr. Larson's child support obligation would be reduced to $1, 091.00 per month, plus the 78% uncovered extraordinary medicals, school tuition, registration, mandatory fees, and extracurricular activities for the children. Mr. Larson objected to the award of child support to Ms. Larson. Ms. Larson objected to the amount of child support.

         On June 3, 2013, the hearing officer recommended that Mr. Larson pay Ms. Larson interim spousal support in the amount of $3, 241.00 per month, effective February 21, 2013, and ordered Mr. Larson to maintain health insurance on Ms. Larson. The hearing officer further recommended an increase in the interim spousal support award, effective June 16, 2013, to the amount of $3, 728.00 per month and ordered Mr. Larson to maintain health insurance on Ms. Larson. On June 5, 2013, both Mr. Larson and Ms. Larson objected to the amount of the interim spousal support award.

         On September 10, 2013, Ms. Larson filed a supplemental and amending petition wherein she formally withdrew her request for final spousal support "at this time."

         Mr. Larson filed a rule to reduce child support on January 9, 2014, stating that his employment with Stantec Consulting Services Inc. (Stantec) was terminated through no fault of his own. Mr. Larson contends that the elimination of his position resulted in a material change in circumstances warranting a reduction in his child support obligation.

         On August 4, 2014, Ms. Larson filed a motion to reset her rules for contempt and objections. Within that motion, Ms. Larson also requested an increase in child support. Ms. Larson contended that Mr. Larson had obtained new employment since the last time the parties were before the hearing officer.[2] She also claimed that upon information and belief, he was earning significantly more than previously and therefore had more disposable income to allocate to his child support obligation.

         Judgment for divorce was granted on June 26, 2014. The parties' numerous objections to hearing officer recommendations and motions were set and reset several times due to continuances, the recusal of two trial court judges, and the transfer to and return from juvenile court of the parties' spousal and child support objections and motions. Trial on all of the parties' outstanding motions and objections was set and heard over four days on August 26, 2015, August 27, 2015, January 11, 2016 and January 20, 2016.

         The trial court awarded Ms. Larson interim spousal support for the period beginning May 1, 2013 and ending December 26, 2014. Ms. Larson was awarded the amount of $3, 008.00 per month for the period beginning May 1, 2013 and ending June 16, 2013. For the period beginning June 17, 2013 and ending December 26, 2014, Ms. Larson was awarded the amount of $3, 638.00 per month. The trial court made the awards executory and Mr. Larson received a credit in the amount of $12, 501.41 for all previous payments made, as stipulated by the parties. The trial court denied Mr. Larson's request for spousal support. The trial court also granted Mr. Larson's rule to reduce child support, retroactive to the date of filing, January 1, 2014, and reduced the amount to $401.00 per month. The trial court further granted Ms. Larson's rule to increase child support, retroactive to the date of filing, August 8, 2014, and increased the amount to $1, 081.00 per month.[3]

         Applicabl ...


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