RONALD EVANS, JR.
KRISSY SINGLETON EVANS
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2013-07085,
DIVISION "H-12" Honorable Monique E. Barial, Judge
HILLIARD C. FAZANDE and ERNEST L. JONES
LAKEISHA N. JEFFERSON JEFFERSON LAW FIRM, APLC and N. KIM
NGUYEN COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT
composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay III, Judge Daniel L.
Dysart, Judge Dale N. Atkins
F. MCKAY III CHIEF JUDGE
this child custody case, defendant, Krissy Singleton Evans
(currently "Mrs. Brumfield"), appeals the trial
court's April 28, 2017 judgment, rendered in connection
with her motion for modification of custody and motion for
contempt against plaintiff, Ronald Evans, Jr. ("Mr.
Evans"). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Evans and Mrs. Brumfield were married in 2005, and divorced
in 2012. They have a twelve-year-old son. Mr. Evans lives in
Houston, Texas; Mrs. Brumfield lives in New Orleans,
to an emergency petition for custody, Mr. Evans was given
interim custody of the child on July 29, 2013. On October 14,
2013, the parties entered into a written stipulation,
agreeing to joint custody with Mr. Evans designated as the
domiciliary parent. Mrs. Brumfield was given liberal
visitation. The stipulated decree further provided that Mrs.
Brumfield's then boyfriend, now husband, Jarrod Brumfield
("Mr. Brumfield"), shall not be alone with the
child without adult supervision and shall not inflict
corporal punishment on the child. This stipulation was made
in connection with Mr. Brumfield's admission that he
spanked the child on two or three occasions. In accordance
with the parties' stipulations, the court signed an
Interim Judgment on October 24, 2013.
April 9, 2014, Mrs. Brumfield sought to modify custody. After
a hearing on April 15, 2014, the trial court amended aspects
of visitation but maintained domiciliary status with Mr.
December 23, 2014, Mrs. Brumfield filed a motion to modify
custody seeking domiciliary status, a motion to appoint an
independent evaluator, and a motion for contempt against Mr.
Evans for failing to abide by the visitation schedule. The
matters were set for April 9, 2015. In connection with that
proceeding, the parties entered into a written stipulation to
amend the visitation schedule. No ruling was made at that
time in connection with Mrs. Brumfield's motion to modify
4, 2015, the parties appeared before the court on various
motions. The trial court rendered multiple judgments on June
23, 2015, appointing Diedre D. Hayes ("Ms. Hayes")
as an independent evaluator, amending the visitation
schedule, and continuing all other motions filed by Mrs.
August 25, 2015, Mrs. Brumfield filed a rule for contempt
against Mr. Evans for failure to participate with the court
appointed evaluator. Judgment was rendered on September 28,
2015, finding Mr. Evans in contempt of court for failing to
comply with the court's orders, in that he failed to
schedule his sessions with Ms. Hayes.
March 8, 2016, Mrs. Brumfield filed an emergency motion for a
status conference and expedited rule for contempt. Mrs.
Brumfield alleged therein that Mr. Evans failed to complete
the court ordered evaluation. Additionally, she alleged that
Mr. Evans continued to interfere with the court ordered
visitation, and that such interference was grounds for
modification of the custody decree pursuant to La. R.S.
9:346(H). The matter was set for May 5, 2016, but was
12, 2016, Mrs. Brumfield filed another rule for contempt
against Mr. Evans for his failure to abide by the visitation
schedule. The parties appeared before the court on July 7,
2016. Mrs. Brumfield testified that she had not been allowed
to visit with her son since February 7, 2016. She indicated
that Mr. Evans informed her that he was not allowing
visitation due to an ongoing investigation being conducted by
the Houston Police Department and Child Services in Texas.
She was told by the authorities that her son alleged that Mr.
Brumfield attempted to sexually assault him during the visit
to Houston on the weekend of February 5 through 7, 2016. Mrs.
Brumfield acknowledged that the Houston Police Department
investigation was still pending, but introduced a document to
show that Child Services completed their investigation and
ruled out any abuse. Mrs. Brumfield also testified that Mr.
Brumfield was not in Houston during that weekend. Mr.
Brumfield testified that he was in New Orleans on the weekend
connection with the July 7, 2016 hearing, a judgment was
rendered August 8, 2016, finding Mr. Evans in contempt of
court for failure to comply with the court ordered
visitation. Mr. Evans was ordered to post a $1, 500.00 bond
to ensure his compliance with the orders of the court. He was
also ordered to pay Mrs. Brumfield's attorney's fees
and costs incurred in connection with a failed attempt to
visit the child in Houston. Mrs. Brumfield's request for
an immediate modification of custody was denied.
26, 2016, Mrs. Brumfield filed an emergency request for
modification of custody and a rule for contempt against Mr.
Evans for failure to abide by the court ordered visitation
schedule. The parties appeared before the court on October
19, 2016. Judgment was rendered November 9, 2016, denying
Mrs. Brumfield's request for immediate modification of
custody. Trial on the modification of custody was continued
pending the completion of Ms. Hayes' report. Mr. Evans
was found in contempt of court and ordered to post a $1,
500.00 bond to ensure his compliance with the visitation
orders. Mr. Evans was ordered to pay attorney's fees and
costs to Mrs. Brumfield. Mr. Evans was also ordered to purge
himself of the prior contempt adjudications by paying the
amounts ordered in the August 8, 2016 judgment.
December 2, 2016, Mrs. Brumfield filed another rule for
contempt, alleging that Mr. Evans failed to pay
attorney's fees and costs, and failed to post bond as
ordered in the August 8, 2016, and November 9, 2016 contempt
judgments. On December 19, 2016, the trial court and the
parties received Ms. Hayes' evaluation report.
motion to modify custody and the motion for contempt came for
trial on March 13, 2017. The court heard testimony from Mr.
Evans, Mrs. Brumfield, Mr. Brumfield, Emika Singleton (Mrs.
Brumfield's sister-in-law), and Connie Singleton Johnson
(Mrs. Brumfield's sister). Notably, Ms. Hayes was not
called to testify, and her custody evaluation report was not
introduced into evidence.
submission of the case for post-trial briefing, the trial
court rendered judgment on April 28, 2017, awarding joint
custody to the parties, with Mr. Evans designated as the
domiciliary parent. Essentially, the judgment denied Mrs.
Brumfield's motion to modify custody. The judgment
further granted Mrs. Brumfield's rule for contempt,
sentencing Mr. Evans to incarceration in Orleans Parish
Prison for five days, with a suspension of the sentence.
Attorney's fees and costs were not awarded to Mrs.
Brumfield. Mrs. Brumfield's timely appeal of the April
28, 2017 judgment followed.
appeal, Mrs. Brumfield asserts that the trial court erred in:
1) relying on the report of the court appointed evaluator
that was not introduced into evidence; and 2) failing to
award attorney's fees and costs pursuant to La. R.S.