APPEAL FROM THE UNION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. DR-09-21. HONORABLE EDWIN KEATON, JUDGE.
F. Mattison Thomas, III, for appellant.
Burbank Dodson & Barker, PLLC, by: Jack W. Barker, for appellee.
GRUBER and VAUGHT, JJ., agree.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER,
Timothy Dorrell appeals an order of the Union County Circuit Court granting appellee Alanna Dorrell's petition for modification of the couple's joint-custody arrangement and awarding Alanna primary custody of their daughter. On appeal, Timothy raises three arguments, contending that the circuit court erred in (1) destroying joint custody in light of a new statutory provision favoring joint-custody agreements; (2) finding it to be in the child's best interest to place custody with Alanna; and (3) not awarding Timothy judgment on unpaid medical expenses. For the reasons discussed below, we are unable to reach the merits of his first and third arguments. On Timothy's second argument, we find no error and affirm.
I. Factual Background
The Dorrells' daughter, A.D., was born in 2007, and the couple was divorced in 2009 by consent decree. The consent decree of absolute divorce provided that Timothy
and Alanna were awarded joint custody of A.D. A.D. was to alternate two days with each parent and then alternate three days with each parent, which would result in A.D.'s spending alternating weekends with each parent. By the terms of the consent decree, the Dorrells agreed that they would " agree on school choice when the time comes, depending on where each of the parties are living."
Within months of the consent decree, Timothy filed an initial petition for change of custody; however, he never took action to prosecute his petition. In 2013, Alanna filed a counterpetition for change of custody. In her counterpetition, she alleged that it was time for A.D. to begin kindergarten, but the parties could not agree on where to send her to school, despite the provision in the decree to reach an agreement on that issue. Alanna sought to have primary custody placed with her. In response, Timothy filed an amended petition for change of custody, asserting that it was in A.D.'s best interest for him to have primary custody. Essentially, both parties sought to have primary custody based on what they believed was in the child's best interest. The circuit court granted Alanna's counterpetition in an order filed on August 19, 2013, finding that it was in A.D.'s best interest for Alanna to have primary custody of the child. It is from this order that Timothy appeals.
II. Procedural Issues
Timothy's first point on appeal raises numerous arguments concerning the interpretation and application of Act 1156 of 2013. With this act, the General Assembly amended Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-13-101 to add subsection (a)(1)(A)(iii), which provides that, " [i]n an action for divorce, an award of joint custody is favored in Arkansas."  Timothy argues that the circuit court failed to address the 2013 amendments to section 9-13-101 and that this failure constitutes reversible error. In his third argument on appeal, Timothy asserts that the court's August 2013 order was erroneous in its failure to address certain issues; specifically, he notes that, in his amended petition for ...