Appeal from the 20th Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of East Feliciana State of Louisiana Trial Court No.
41, 308 Honorable Kathryn E. Jones, Judge Presiding
Marie McDonald Dubach, LA Appellant, In Proper Person
Charles E. Griffin, II St. Francisville, LA Attorney for
Appellee, Angela Biscomb
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, PENZATO, AND LANIER, JJ.
child custody matter, the mother of the minor children, who
are in the custody of their paternal grandmother, is
appealing a judgment denying her motion to set visitation.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Carpenter and Erin McDonald were married in 2004, and of the
marriage, two children were born: A.T.C. born on December 19,
2006, and J.W.C. born on April 24, 2009. In 2011, divorce
proceedings were instituted, and each parent sought sole
custody of the children. A custody trial was held on
September 12 and 26, 2011, after which the trial court
awarded joint custody to Ms. McDonald and Mr. Carpenter, but
expressed its opinion that neither party was suitable, and it
would have preferred to award custody to a third party.
Therefore, quickly after trial, Angela Biscomb, Mr.
Carpenter's mother, sought custody of the children.
Following a hearing on November 28, 2011, the trial court
rendered judgment awarding Mrs. Biscomb sole custody of the
children with each parent to have reasonable visitation. That
judgment was affirmed by this court in Carpenter v.
McDonald, 2012-1460 (La.App. 1st Cir. 2/13/13) 2013 WL
2014, Mrs. Biscomb filed a motion to transfer custody of the
children to Mr. Carpenter, and Ms. McDonald intervened in
those proceedings. After a hearing on August 11, 2014, Mr.
Carpenter and Ms. McDonald were awarded joint custody of the
children. However, shortly after the hearing, Mrs. Biscomb
filed a petition to intervene for custody requesting that she
again be awarded sole custody of the children. In her
petition, Mrs. Biscomb set forth several allegations against
Mr. Carpenter and Ms. McDonald and stated that she believed
that the children were in danger. Specifically, Mrs. Biscomb
alleged that within weeks of the trial court's ruling,
Mr. Carpenter brought the children back to live with her, he
never enrolled them in school, and the children were fearful
of him. Further, she alleged that while she was sleeping, Mr.
Carpenter took the children from her home, and he brought
them to Ms. McDonald who would not allow Mrs. Biscomb to have
any contact with the children. In a judgment signed on April
20, 2015, Mrs. Biscomb was again awarded sole custody of the
children with reasonable supervised visitation for Mr.
Carpenter and Ms. McDonald.
January 26, 2017, Mrs. Biscomb filed a motion to modify the
April 20, 2015 judgment. In her motion, Mrs. Biscomb sought a
temporary and permanent injunction preventing Mr. Carpenter
and Ms. McDonald from harming, harassing, contacting, or
stalking herself, her husband or the children. She also
requested that their parental rights be terminated or in the
alternative, that Mr. Carpenter and Ms. McDonald's
supervised visitation be suspended until they complete a
psychological evaluation and appropriate counseling. The
trial court signed a temporary restraining order that day.
After the hearing on Mrs. Biscomb's motion, the trial
court signed a judgment on April 10, 2017, which granted an
injunction prohibiting Mr. Carpenter and Ms. McDonald from
harming, harassing, contacting, or stalking Mrs. Biscomb, her
husband or the children. The judgment also suspended all
visitation and contact between Ms. McDonald and the children
until she completed "a complete psychological evaluation
with a licensed family psychologist and completed whatever
treatment and counseling is recommended by that
physician." Additionally, the judgment required Ms.
McDonald to prove a material change in circumstances before
any contact or visitation with the children is set in her
the hearing, Ms. McDonald filed a notice of intention to file
for supervisory writs, which this court granted for the
limited purpose of remanding this matter to the trial court
with instructions to grant Ms. McDonald an appeal of the
April 10, 2017 judgment. Ms. McDonald's motion and order
to appeal the April 10, 2017 judgment was fax-filed on
November 7, 2017, however, the record does not contain the
original as required by La. R.S. 13:850(B), and the motion
was not signed. On June 3, 2017, the trial court signed an
order pursuant to the April 10, 2017 judgment, stating that
"Dr. [Charles] Burchell is approved by the court to
submit findings, reports or recommendations, from a completed
complete psychological evaluation or treatment of [Ms.]
on June 1, 2018, Ms. McDonald filed a rule to set visitation
stating that she had completed a psychological evaluation as
well as treatment and requesting that she be awarded
visitation with her children. In response, Mrs. Biscomb filed
a motion to dismiss Ms. McDonald's rule and a motion for
sanctions contending that Ms. McDonald's action was
premature because she failed to comply with the April 10,
2017 judgment and June 3, 2017 order, which required a
complete psychological evaluation by Dr. Burchell in order
for her to seek visitation. Ms. McDonald's rule came
before the trial court on April 1, 2019. On that day, the
trial court rendered judgment dismissing Ms. McDonald's
rule for visitation and denying Mrs. Biscomb's request
13, 2019, Ms. McDonald filed a notice and order of appeal
seeking an appeal from several judgments of the trial court
including judgments from January 26, 2017, April 10, 2017,
November 21, 2018 and April 1, 2019. However, in the order
for appeal, the trial court struck through each judgment
other than Ms. McDonald's request to appeal the judgment
rendered on April 1, 2019.
Ms. McDonald also filed a writ application with this court on
July 15, 2019, contending that the trial court erred in
restricting her appeal to the April 1, 2019 judgment. On
September 3, 2019, a panel of this court referred Ms.
McDonald's writ application to this panel ...