FROM THE THIRTY-THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
ALLEN, NO. 2014-151 HONORABLE JOEL G. DAVIS, DISTRICT JUDGE
Meredith Abrusley Guillory P.O. Drawer Attorney for
Appellant, Caitland Siobhan Hebert
Corcoran Law Firm, LLC Lawrence Sean Corcoran Attorney for
Appellee, Keary Ryan Hebert
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Shannon J. Gremillion, and
Phyllis M. Keaty, Judges.
R. COOKS JUDGE
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Siobhan Hebert (Caitland) and Keary Ryan Hebert (Keary) are
the divorced parents of a nine-year old child, Kyler Neal
Hebert (Kyler), born January 7, 2010. The first court order
concerning custody of Kyler was based on a joint stipulation
of the parties. The order was signed on June 17, 2014, and at
that time both parents and Kyler were domiciled in Louisiana.
The stipulated custody agreement awarded joint legal custody
and designated Caitland as the domiciliary parent. Caitland
moved to Texas shortly thereafter, but only temporarily, and
then moved back to Allen Parish, Louisiana in 2014. Kyler
attended school in Louisiana until the end of the 2016 school
of 2016 Caitland notified Keary via certified mail that she
intended to move to Kerrville, Texas and wanted to relocate
Kyler with her. Keary opposed the move. The matter was heard
on August 1, 2016 in Allen Parish. Following the hearing the
trial court granted Caitland permission to relocate with
Kyler. The trial court awarded visitation to Keary guided in
part by Keary's work schedule which at the time was
alternating fourteen days at work and fourteen days at home.
The court attempted to afford Keary as much visitation as
possible awarding him visitation every other weekend. In
order to accommodate Keary's schedule Kyler misses three
days of school each month during the school year. Though
Kyler's absences are considered unexcused they have not
yet been charged against him. He must make up exams he misses
during these absences. Exams are given on Fridays. These
missed exams are made up on Mondays thus interfering with two
more days of schooling each month. He leaves school at 1:00
o'clock in the afternoon on every other Thursday and
misses the entire day of school on every other Friday.
According to Keary, this puts Kyler at the half-way pick-up
point around "four to six o'clock, seven
o'clock" depending on road construction and traffic
accidents. This means that Kyler is on the road for eight to
ten hours of travel time every other weekend. The parents
have agreed to meet at a half-way point thus minimizing their
travel time. According to Keary it is usually his "mom
and step father" who actually pick up Kyler.
subsequent hearing concerning modification of the visitation
schedule the trial court denied Caitland's motion to
transfer the matter to Texas. At that time the parties
stipulated: 1) that Texas is now the child's home state,
2) Texas and Louisiana have concurrent jurisdiction, and 3)
Louisiana is a convenient forum for the decision of all
issues. The stipulation was made part of the trial court
judgment dated November 8, 2017.
February 12, 2018, Keary filed a rule for contempt against
Caitland alleging willful refusal to abide by the
court-ordered visitation for Christmas. In response Caitland
filed a pleading entitled "Petition to Make Judgment
Executory and to Modify Custody" wherein she sought a
transfer of jurisdiction to Texas and a modification of
visitation. Caitland's motion to transfer
asserted that she and the child no longer have a significant
connection to Louisiana. Her basis for a change in the
visitation schedule was largely the adverse impact the
current schedule is having on the child's education. The
trial court denied both the motion to transfer and the motion
for a change in visitation and found Caitland in contempt.
Caitland was ordered to pay $2, 000 in attorney's fees
for contempt. She appeals the trial court rulings.
parties' stipulation to jurisdiction is not controlling.
Subject matter jurisdiction "cannot be conferred by
consent of the parties." La.CodeCiv. P. art. 3. See
also Wootton v. Wootton, 49, 001 (La.App. 2 Cir.
5/14/14), 138 So.3d 1253. Additionally, "[a] judgment
rendered by a court which has no jurisdiction over the
subject matter of the action or proceeding is void."
La.CodeCiv. P. art. 3. This court has consistently held,
"Whether a court has subject matter jurisdiction is
reviewed on appeal under the de novo standard of
review. Chamberlin v. Chamberlin, 14-1322 (La.App. 3
Cir. 4/22/15), 176 So.3d 1118, writ denied, 15-0972
(La.6/19/15), 172 So.3d 1093; Otwell v. Otwell,
10-1176 (La.App. 3 Cir. 2/9/11), 56 So.3d 1232."
Banerjee v. Banerjee, 17-245 p. 3, (La.App. 3 Cir.
12/13/17), 258 So.3d 699, 701.
novo review of the record reveals that Louisiana no longer
has exclusive jurisdiction over this child custody matter
because Caitland and Kyler no longer reside in Louisiana and
have both resided in Texas since at least August 1, 2016.
Except as otherwise provided in R.S. 13:1816, a court of this
state which has made a child custody determination consistent
with R.S. 13:1813 or 1815 has exclusive, continuing
jurisdiction over the determination until:
(1) A court of this state determines that neither the
child, nor the child and one parent, nor the child and a
person acting as a parent have a significant connection
with this state and that substantial evidence is no longer
available in this state concerning the child's ...