FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 26DR-15-740]
HONORABLE LYNN WILLIAMS, JUDGE
Worsham Law Firm, P.A., by: Richard E. Worsham, for
Clay Janske, for appellee.
F. VIRDEN, JUDGE.
Glisson appeals from the Garland County Circuit Court's
order awarding joint custody to both parties, with primary
custody to Kellie and visitation to Steven. She argues that
the circuit court erred in classifying the custody awarded as
joint custody and asks this court to clarify the decree by
awarding her primary custody with visitation to
Steven. Alternatively, Kellie argues that if this
court affirms the circuit court's award of joint custody,
then the circuit court erred because the evidence does not
show that joint custody is in the best interest of the
children. Kellie also challenges the circuit court's
award of child support. We affirm the circuit court's
finding of joint custody, and we reverse and remand to the
circuit court the issue of child support.
December 16, 2015, Kellie Glisson filed an amended complaint
for divorce in the Garland County Circuit Court after sixteen
years of marriage to Steven Glisson. The Glissons have two
minor children, a daughter, H.G. (born 09/27/04), and a son,
H.A.G. (born 03/31/07). In her complaint, Kellie asserted
that the circuit court should award her primary custody of
the children. Steven responded and requested joint custody.
The parties submitted an agreed order on most of the issues
relating to the divorce; however, custody and spousal support
were to be settled by the circuit court.
hearing on the remaining matters, the court heard conflicting
testimony from the witnesses regarding the parental fitness
of the parties. Bruce Dodson, the Glisson's marriage
counselor since the "early 2000s, " offered the
following testimony at the hearing. In approximately sixteen
years of counseling, Kellie had never stated that Steven was
a bad father or complained that he was violent. At times
during counseling, Steven had become angry and frustrated and
had abruptly left the session. Steven had used inappropriate,
harsh language during some sessions, and during the summer
the year before, marital counseling had become unproductive.
Steven continued counseling on his own after the parties
separated, and Dodson had not witnessed any angry outbursts
from Steven in six months. During their counseling sessions
and specifically around the time he confronted Kellie about
her possible infidelity, Steven had reported having suicidal
thoughts, but he had assured Dodson that he would not harm
himself. Dodson considered Steven to be a good father and
businessman, and he believed that Steven was not a danger to
Kellie and Steven testified extensively about some of the
same incidents that occurred during their marriage. Kellie
testified that their son, H.A.G., has sensory-processing
disorder (SPD), and she described the difficulties H.A.G.
experiences due to his SPD, such as feeling overwhelmed,
being unable to focus, experiencing confusion, and having
difficulty transitioning from one environment to another.
Kellie explained that she had learned techniques to deal with
H.A.G.'s sensory-processing issues, that H.A.G. is in
occupational therapy for SPD, and that therapy had been very
helpful. Kellie testified that Steven had not read the
articles on SPD that she had given him and that Steven had
dismissed H.A.G.'s SPD as out-of-control behavior. Kellie
described an incident at a wedding in which H.A.G. became
"loud and agitated" when Kellie, Steven, and H.A.G.
were trying to enter the reception hall. She asserted that
Steven forced H.A.G. to go inside and sit down and that
H.A.G. had hidden under the table for a few minutes, which
had angered Steven. Kellie convinced Steven to let H.A.G. sit
under the table for a few minutes, and that after that H.A.G.
was able to rejoin the reception.
described the incident with H.A.G. at the wedding reception
differently. He explained that H.A.G. climbed under the table
and "Kellie just sat there and you know, thought that
she should let H.A.G. act out and cause a scene." Steven
testified that he and H.A.G. went outside and walked around
for a while, got some food and, then came back in. Steven
denied Kellie's assertion that he had been angry about
the situation. Steven explained that he knew H.A.G. had been
diagnosed with SPD and that he had to have patience with his
described H.G.'s allergy to corn and explained that it
was important to avoid exposing H.G. to the allergen. She
testified that she and Steven both prepared lunches for H.G.,
and she did not describe any negative incidents relating to
Steven's handling of H.G.'s corn allergy.
testified that during their marriage she had handled most of
the children's day-to-day activities. She opined that
Steven did better with the kids on holidays and during the
summer when there was no schedule to observe. Kellie asserted
that Steven did not attend H.G.'s basketball games or
school events and that Steven was a "fun dad, but there
are boundaries and limitations to what he can provide as far
as the emotional, physical and development state of our
contrast, Steven testified that throughout their marriage he
had routinely made breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the kids
and Kellie, and that he, along with Kellie, had been
responsible for the dishes and laundry. Steven testified that
he helps the children with their homework and that he takes
H.G. to basketball practice and attends her games. According
to Steven, since the separation, Kellie had been "too
wrapped up in herself" and that until recently Kellie
had been out of town every weekend and had often relied on
him for childcare while she traveled.
described several instances in which Steven had threatened
suicide. Kellie recounted that during an argument, Steven had
threatened to kill himself and had held a gun to his chin,
and Kellie attributed Steven's behavior in part to his
going off of his anxiety medication. Kellie also recalled
that Steven had gotten upset ...