FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TWELFTH DIVISION [NO.
60DR-10-3555] HONORABLE ALICE S. GRAY, JUDGE.
& Young, P.L.L.C., by: Milas H. Hale III; and Robert S.
Tschiemer, for appellant.
W. Thompson Law Firm, P.A., by: Morris Thompson; and Brett D.
Watson, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brett D. Watson, for
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Hortelano appeals the divorce decree from his former wife,
Laura Hortelano, issued by the Pulaski County Circuit Court.
On appeal, Hector argues that the circuit court erred in
awarding joint legal custody to the parties with Laura being
the primary custodial parent. We affirm.
29, 2010, Hector filed a divorce complaint against Laura. He
asserted that both he and Laura were fit and proper parents
and asked the court to award joint custody of their children,
I.H. and A.H., with him being the primary custodial parent.
Laura filed a counterclaim for divorce. She also asked for
joint custody; however, she requested that she be the primary
custodial parent. On September 22, 2010, the court entered an
agreed temporary order granting joint custody with Hector
being the primary custodial parent and Laura having
visitation every other weekend and every Wednesday after
March 25, 2011, following a hearing, the court entered a
temporary order stating that "the parties shall have
joint custody of the minor children with neither party
designated as the primary custodial parent." The court
ordered the same visitation schedule as contained in the
September 2010 agreed order. The court further noted that
"neither party shall have members of the opposite sex
overnight with them when they have children with them unless
they are related or married to that person."
August 19 and August 21, 2014, the court held a final divorce
hearing. At the hearing, Hector testified that Laura left him
and the children on July 26, 2010, and that he then filed for
a divorce. He denied kicking Laura out of their home, and
when asked whether he changed the door lock in the days
before Laura left, he stated that he changed the lock because
their daughter had broken it. He noted that Laura had an
affair with his brother and that angered him, but he denied
kicking her out as result of the affair. He explained that
since Laura left, he had been the primary caregiver of the
children and had transported them to and from school every
day. He also stated that he had paid for their tuition to
private school, school supplies, clothes, and karate lessons.
When asked whether I.H., their then eleven-year-old daughter,
slept in his bed at night, Hector stated that she only slept
with him when she had nightmares or during bad weather.
testified that she began having a sexual relationship with
Hector when she was thirteen years old. She stated that when
they met, Hector told her that he was seventeen years old,
but she later discovered he was twenty-seven. She explained
that when she was thirteen, she and Hector traveled to
Mexico, and they later married there when she was fourteen.
She testified that he had limited her contact with her family
while they were in Mexico. They returned to the United States
in 2005 and remarried for Hector's immigration status.
testified that during the marriage, she was the primary
caregiver for the children and that Hector worked long hours.
She further testified that she and Hector fought frequently
over his brother's living with them. Laura did not like
his brother's living with them because they had a
two-bedroom trailer, and the children had to sleep with her
and Hector. She stated that Hector had kicked her out of the
house several times as a result of the fights. She admitted
that she had an affair with Hector's brother and stated
that she told Hector about it in May 2010. Hector then tried
to kick her out, but she refused to leave the children. She
stated that in July 2010, he changed the locks on the trailer
and denied her entry. Laura then lived in her car before
moving in with a male coworker. She denied having a romantic
relationship with the coworker but stated that he had raped
her, though she never filed charges. She testified that Hector had control over
her financial and personal records; so she had nothing when
he kicked her out. She stated that she tried to give Hector
money to help with the children's needs but he refused
her current living situation, Laura testified that she lives
with her boyfriend, Addias Lopez, in a two-bedroom trailer in
Hot Springs and that they have two children together. She
explained that they have lived together since 2011 and that
they plan to marry when her divorce from Hector is final. She
testified that Adidas has no criminal history but he does not
have a legal immigration status. She noted that she is not
employed but is enrolled as a full-time student at National
Park Community College. She hopes to become a registered
nurse. Laura testified that she called child-protective
services about I.H. sleeping in Hector's bed every night,
but the investigation was closed as unsubstantiated.
mother, Maria Alvarez, testified that Hector and Laura began
having a sexual relationship when Laura was thirteen years
old and Hector was twenty-seven years old and that she
disapproved of the relationship. She further testified that
Hector kidnapped Laura and took her to Mexico. She explained
that she contacted the police, but the police told her they
could do nothing since Laura had left the county. She
eventually located a phone number for Hector and Laura and
made contact with them, but Laura refused to return to the
United States until her mother stopped the kidnapping
investigation and gave her permission to marry Hector. She
stated that either she or her husband had given them
permission to marry.
testified that when Hector and Laura returned to the United
States, Laura acted as the primary caregiver for the children
and that Hector limited her time away from their house as
well as her communication with others. She explained that
Hector and Laura had arguments about Hector's brother
living with them and that Hector had kicked Laura out of the
house on several occasions. As to Laura leaving Hector and
the children in July 2010, Alvarez testified that Hector had
kicked Laura out of the house. She also testified that I.H.
continues to sleep in Hector's bed and that concerned
and Laura's daughter, I.H., then testified that she
sleeps with her father and brother every night. When asked
with whom she wanted to ...