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Hanna v. Hanna

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 20, 2019

SAKURA HANNA Appellant
v.
JOHN HANNA Appellee

          Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. 155, 938 Honorable John M. Robinson, Judge (Pro Tempore)

          KAMMER & HUCKABAY By: Pugh T. Huckabay, III Counsel for Appellant

          VISHNEFSKI LAW FIRM, LLC By: Rebecca L. Vishnefski Counsel for Appellee

          Before GARRETT, STONE and COX, JJ.

          COX, J.

         Sakura Hanna and John Hanna were granted a divorce in the 26th Judicial District Court, Bossier Parish, Louisiana. Ms. Hanna is appealing the trial court's judgment terminating her award of interim periodic spousal support upon the judgment of divorce. Mr. Hanna is appealing the trial court's order holding him in contempt for failure to timely pay interim spousal support. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment terminating interim periodic spousal support and respectfully reverse the finding of contempt.

         FACTS

         Mr. and Ms. Hanna were married on November 20, 2014. Ms. Hanna filed a petition for divorce pursuant to La. C.C. art. 102 on April 18, 2018. At the time of the filing, Ms. Hanna had stage III breast cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. The two were still living in the same home, but in different bedrooms. In her petition for divorce, she claimed that Mr. Hanna was verbally abusive, which caused her anxiety and exacerbated her medical condition. Ms. Hanna stated that due to her medical and financial conditions, she was unable to leave the matrimonial domicile and support herself. She requested interim periodic spousal support under La. C.C. art. 111 for her care and support. She also reserved her right to seek permanent spousal support under La. C.C. art. 112 because she claimed to be free from fault.

         A judgment was signed and filed on July 12, 2018, which awarded Ms. Hanna interim periodic spousal support of $2, 000 per month. The judgment states that it is pursuant to the "stipulations and agreement of the parties, and for reasons this day orally assigned." The record does not contain a transcript of oral reasons. The court minutes, Mr. Hanna's answer and reconventional demand, and Ms. Hanna's answer to reconventional demand all state that the parties agreed to that judgment. The judgment was accompanied by an immediate income assignment order.

         On January 23, 2019, Mr. Hanna filed a first supplemental and amended petition. He alleged that the parties separated on April 30, 2018, and have not reconciled since that date, a period of more than 180 days prior to the filing of this petition. He requested a judgment of divorce pursuant to La. C.C. art. 103. On February 12, 2019, Mr. Hanna filed an answer to the 102 petition and reconventional demand pursuant article 103. He requested a final divorce and termination of interim spousal support.

         The trial court granted the divorce on April 9, 2019. In the judgment, the trial court scratched through the portion of the judgment which would have terminated the interim spousal support.

         On April 19, 2019, Ms. Hanna filed a rule to increase the interim spousal support and for contempt for nonpayment. On May 2, 2019, the trial court signed an order setting a hearing for all pending matters and terminating the income assignment order.

         On May 29, 2019, Ms. Hanna filed a rule for final periodic spousal support. The hearing on that issue was set for August 27, 2019.[1]

         A hearing was held on May 30, 2019, regarding the issues of contempt and interim spousal support. After hearing the parties' arguments, the trial court stated that the legislative amendment, which changed the interim support termination date from the date of divorce to six months post-divorce, is "a huge change." The trial court found the revisions to La. C.C. art. 113 to be substantive and granted the rule to terminate interim support. Mr. Hanna was held to be in contempt for nonpayment, but purged himself of the contempt by making spousal support payments after the divorce. Mr. Hanna was assessed with attorney fees in the amount of $750 and costs of the proceedings attributable to the motion for contempt.

         Ms. Hanna is appealing the trial court's ruling that the amendment to La. C.C. art. 113 is substantive and therefore not retroactive. Mr. Hanna is appealing the trial court's ...


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