FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF IBERIA,
NO. 124282 HONORABLE LORI A. LANDRY, DISTRICT JUDGE
J. Guidry Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT:
Ella Walker Johnson
Maria August Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE:
Glenn R. Johnson, Sr.
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Shannon J.
Gremillion, and John E. Conery, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION, JUDGE
plaintiff/appellant, Ella Walker Johnson, appeals the trial
court's judgment terminating interim and permanent
spousal support. For the following reasons, we reverse and
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
filed for divorce from the defendant/appellee, Glenn Johnson,
Sr., on April 10, 2014. Following an August 2014 conference,
the hearing officer recommended that Glenn pay interim
periodic support in the amount of $1, 300.00 per month,
retroactive to the date of demand. The hearing officer's
recommendations were adopted as the final judgment of the
trial court on September 11, 2014.
October 17, 2014, Ella filed a "Motion and Order for
Rule for Judgment of Past Due Alimony, Contempt, and Attorney
Fees" claiming that Glenn was in arrears for $8, 450.00
for failing to pay support from April 2014 through October
2014. A hearing officer conference took place in November
2014. The hearing officer's recommendations found Glenn
in arrears in the amount of $6, 760.00, and in contempt for
failing to comply with the court order to maintain Ella's
auto insurance. The hearing officer sentenced Glenn to thirty
days in jail but suspended the sentence if certain financial
conditions were met. Glenn and Ella both filed objections to
the hearing officer's recommendations. Thereafter, Glenn
filed a rule to show cause why divorce should not be granted.
A judgment of divorce was granted and signed on February 4,
March 23, 2015, Ella and Glenn entered into a "Consent
Judgment," whereby Glenn was subject to an income
assignment order in the amount of $1, 200.00 per month
"for the payment of the interim spousal support
obligation."The consent judgment suspended the
thirty-day sentence imposed on Glenn for contempt. It also
included other conditions Glenn had to meet in order to make
his past due arrearages current.
13, 2018, Glenn filed a "Rule for Termination or
Reduction of Spousal Support Payments to Ella Walker
Johnson" due to job loss and a significant reduction in
his monthly pay beginning in December 2016. Glenn prayed that
"the payments for spousal support, previously ordered on
March 23, 2015 . . . be eliminated; and, alternatively, that
the amounts which Mover has been ordered to pay be eliminated
or substantially reduced."
a July 24, 2018 conference, the hearing officer made certain
findings of fact including that:
1.Plaintiff seeks final periodic spousal support. Defendant
seeks to terminate the interim periodic spousal support, and
he also submits that Plaintiff does not need final periodic
spousal support and/or that he cannot afford to pay it.
2. The Hearing Officer notes that the finding and
recommendations herein are strictly limited to whether
Plaintiff has a need for final periodic spousal support, and
whether Defendant has the ability to pay same[.]
hearing officer's recommendation was that Glenn pay
$300.00 per month in "final periodic support." Both
parties objected to ...