FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO.
242, 908 HONORABLE GEORGE C. METOYER, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE
Ford Fiser COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Clint Tucker
Darrell Keith Hickman COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Ronda
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, John D.
Saunders and Van H. Kyzar, Judges.
Clint Tucker Strother, appeals the judgment of the trial
court denying his rule for a change of custody of the
parties' minor daughter. For the reasons set forth
herein, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Strother and Appellee, Ronda Maxwell Hudson, are the
unmarried parents of Kristen Marie Strother, born on June 16,
2010. By judgment rendered on November 10, 2011, based upon
the stipulations of the parties, and signed on January 10,
2012, the parties agreed to share joint custody of Kristen,
with Ms. Hudson being designated as the primary custodial
parent and with Mr. Strother having reasonable visitation
rights. The parties entered into another Consent Judgment on
June 30, 2014, wherein Mr. Strother was awarded
every-other-weekend custodial visitation and alternating
weekly summer custodial visitation.
Mr. Strother filed a Rule for Change of Custody, Rule for
Contempt and For Other Relief on June 2, 2017, based on
numerous allegations, including that the child had excessive
tardiness and unexcused absences from school, that Child
Protection had telephoned him, and that the mother, Ronda
Hudson, had been involved in physical violence with the man
with whom she is living while the minor child was in the
home. In this pleading, he also sought and obtained a
Temporary Ex Parte Custody Order, whereby Ms. Hudson was
given only supervised visitation at her mother's home
until the matter could be heard.
24, 2017, a hearing was held; at the conclusion of which the
trial court denied the Rule for Change of Custody, holding
that "the Court finds that there is insufficient
evidence to take the child away from the mother and place it
with the father at this point." This appeal by Mr.
appeal, Mr. Strother alleges four assignments of error, as
1. The trial court committed legal error by applying an
incorrect legal standard to determine custody and visitation
rights to the minor child, and thus a de novo review
by this court is appropriate and necessary.
2. The trial court was manifestly erroneous in failing to
recognize that the evidence presented established that sole
or domiciliary custody for the father and supervised
visitation for the mother would be in the best interest of
the child and in failing to tailor a custody and visitation
order in a manner that would minimize risk of harm to the
3. The trial court erred in failing to find that the violent
acts against mother by her paramour in front of the child
triggered the Post-Separation Family Violence Relief Act.
4. The trial court erred in failing to recognize that the
[Appellee's] failure to call her paramour to testify or
to explain his failure to testify about matters material to
the case and peculiarly within his knowledge created an
adverse presumption that his testimony would be damaging and
unfavorable to her case.
Standard Applied by the Trial Court for Change of
Strother first asserts that the trial court erred in applying
the incorrect standard of law in denying his rule for a
change in the custody arrangements of the parties' minor
child. As such, he argues, this court should review the trial
court's decision de novo. The standard of ...