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Guidry v. Guidry

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 22, 2019

DARRIN GUIDRY
v.
RHONDA SUTTON GUIDRY

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. JAMES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 36, 989, DIVISION "E" HONORABLE ALVIN TURNER, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, DARRIN GUIDRY Henri P. Dufresne

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, RHONDA SUTTON GUIDRY Nghana L. Gauff

          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Fredericka Homberg Wicker, and Stephen J. Windhorst

          FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER JUDGE

         Appellant, Rhonda Sutton Guidry, seeks review of a considered custody decree that granted joint custody of the minor child to the parents but provided that appellant's visitation period with the child be supervised. For the following reasons, we find that, under the facts of this case, the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in entering the custody judgment at issue.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The parties in this matter, Darrin Guidry and Rhonda Guidry, divorced on July 13, 2016. This litigation concerns the physical custody of the parties' one minor child, C.G. During the pendency of the divorce proceedings, on November 2, 2015, the parties entered into a stipulated consent judgment providing, in addition to other matters, that the parties would share joint custody of C.G., with Rhonda designated as domiciliary parent and with Darrin granted visitation every Wednesday evening and every other weekend from 6:00 p.m. on Friday through 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

         On November 16, 2017, Darrin filed a "Rule for Ex Parte Order, Rule to Change Custody, and Modify Child Support," contending a material change of circumstances occurred and that sole custody in his favor would be in C.G.'s best interest. In his rule, Darrin alleged that Rhonda's live-in boyfriend, Cody Kinler, was a known drug dealer recently arrested for drug possession. He also alleged his belief that Rhonda may be using illicit drugs and that she had been recently fired from her job for failing a drug screening test. The rule further alleged that C.G. was struggling in school and had been recently suspended.

         On November 21, 2017, Darrin filed a petition for protection from abuse on behalf of C.G., alleging that a police search of Rhonda's residence revealed drug paraphernalia in the home and resulted in the involvement of child services. He further asserted that he feared Rhonda was under the influence of drugs while in C.G.'s presence. He stated that he did not want his son exposed to police activity and did not think Rhonda could handle C.G. while under the influence of drugs. The trial court denied the TRO and set the matter for hearing for December 4, 2017.

         On November 27, 2017, Darrin filed a second rule for ex parte temporary sole custody alleging that Rhonda recently bailed her boyfriend, Cody Kinler, out of jail following his arrest on drug-related charges and allowed him to move back into the residence with C.G. Darrin further alleged that Rhonda abuses pills while in C.G.'s presence and associates with friends who are drug abusers and dealers while in the child's presence. Attached to his second rule for ex parte temporary sole custody, Darrin also attached the affidavit of Brad Alexander.

         Mr. Alexander attested that he dated Rhonda for 2.5 years and has been living with Rhonda "on and off" for 1.5 years. He attested that he attended Thanksgiving dinner at Rhonda's home on November 23, 2017, and observed Rhonda take multiple Oxycodone pills throughout the day and observed Rhonda's sister and her boyfriend "snorting drugs" while C.G. was present in the home. Mr. Alexander further attested that Rhonda has allowed her sister and her sister's boyfriend, who are known drug users, to live in the home and that C.G. has been "kicked out" of his room and forced to sleep on the couch since June, 2017.

         Mr. Alexander further attested that he has observed Rhonda buy and use oxycodone, Xanax, xanbar, seboxone, and use methamphetamines in the home. He further asserted that Rhonda has sold C.G.'s prescribed ADHD medication, rather than administering it to him, and that "crystal meth and heroin" have been sold out of the home. He further alleged that Rhonda does not make the minor child bathe or brush his teeth regularly and has made threats of physical violence against Darrin and his wife if they were to interfere with her custody of C.G.

         The trial court again denied the ex parte order but set the matter for hearing for December 4, 2017. On that date, the parties and court executed a stipulated consent form, wherein the parties agreed to share joint custody of C.G., with Darrin designated as the domiciliary parent and with Rhonda exercising visitation every other weekend. The stipulation stated it was without prejudice to either party pending a hearing on Darrin's rule to modify custody.[1]

         On March 21, 2018, the parties entered into a Consent Judgment. The Consent Judgment awarded the parties joint custody of the minor child with Darrin designated as the domiciliary parent and with Rhonda exercising visitation every other weekend from Friday at 6:00 p.m. to Sunday at 6:00 p.m. It further provided that Rhonda would submit to a 9-panel hair follicle test and a urine screening test by the 5th day of each month for ...


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