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.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, RHONDA SUTTON GUIDRY Nghana
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Fredericka Homberg
Wicker, and Stephen J. Windhorst
FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER JUDGE
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
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...