Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jackson v. Littleton

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

October 24, 2018

MELISSA JACKSON APPELLANT
v.
QUANTERRIO LITTLETON, SR. APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTEENTH DIVISION [NO. 60DR-16-4480] HONORABLE VANN SMITH, JUDGE

          Richard E. Worsham, for appellant.

         One brief only.

          PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, JUDGE

         In this one-brief case, appellant Melissa Jackson appeals the Pulaski County Circuit Court's child-custody determination regarding Jackson's son, Q.L. The circuit court awarded joint legal custody of Q.L. to Jackson and appellee Quanterrio Littleton but primary physical custody of Q.L. to Littleton. On appeal, Jackson contends that the circuit court's decision was not in Q.L.'s best interest. We affirm.

         I. Background and Procedural History

         Jackson and Littleton were married in 2002. They are the parents of two children, a son, Q.L., and a daughter, B.L. Q.L. was born in 2007. The couple separated in 2008, and Jackson moved with Q.L. to Puerto Rico. Jackson returned to Arkansas in 2013 and reunited with Littleton; their daughter, B.L., was born in July 2014. The couple separated again in December 2014. After their separation, Jackson lived in Little Rock with both children, and Littleton lived in Pine Bluff.

         In 2016, Q.L. began having behavioral problems in school. As a result, Jackson and Littleton agreed that Q.L. would stay with Littleton to see if his behavior would improve, and Littleton enrolled Q.L. in the Pine Bluff School District during the fall semester. Jackson had Q.L. over the Thanksgiving break, but when the break was over, she told Littleton that she was going to reenroll him in the Little Rock School District.

         In November 2016, Jackson filed for divorce. In response, Littleton filed an answer to Jackson's complaint for divorce and a counterclaim seeking joint custody of both children. He also filed a petition for an ex parte order for temporary custody. The circuit court entered an order denying Littleton's request for ex parte relief, but it scheduled an expedited temporary hearing on the matter. After taking testimony at the temporary hearing, the court awarded temporary custody of B.L. to Jackson and temporary custody of Q.L. to Littleton, with each party exercising alternating-weekend visitations so that each parent would have both children every other weekend.

         The circuit court ultimately held a final hearing on Jackson's complaint for divorce and subsequently entered a final divorce decree. The court found that it was in the children's best interest to maintain the custody arrangement as previously ordered. The court determined that Jackson and Littleton should share joint legal custody of the children;[1] Jackson was awarded primary physical custody of B.L., and Littleton was awarded primary physical custody of Q.L. The court also made permanent the alternating-weekend-visitation plan, "so that each party shall have both minor children in their custody during their respective weekend visitations." Neither Jackson nor Littleton was ordered to pay child support. Jackson filed a timely notice of appeal from the decree.

         II. Standard of Review

         Arkansas law is well settled that the primary consideration in child-custody cases is the welfare and best interest of the children; all other considerations are secondary. Starr v. Starr, 2015 Ark.App. 110, at 6-7, 455 S.W.3d 372, 375-76; Evans v. McKinney, 2014 Ark.App. 440, at 4, 440 S.W.3d 357, 359. Our standard of review in child-custody cases is well established. We consider the evidence de novo but will not reverse unless the circuit court's findings are clearly erroneous or clearly against the preponderance of the evidence. Delgado v. Delgado, 2012 Ark.App. 100, at 4, 389 S.W.3d 52, 56. Findings are clearly against the preponderance of the evidence when we are left with an irrefutable and express belief that a mistake has occurred. Id. With these standards in mind, we now consider the testimony and evidence before the circuit court.

         III. Testimony

         The circuit court had two occasions to hear testimony from the parties concerning their custody requests. Jackson presented evidence to the court about her income of approximately $2, 600 a month, her three-bedroom apartment where Q.L. had his own room, and her efforts to transfer Q.L. from the Lighthouse Academies charter school in Pine Bluff to the Lighthouse Academies campus in North Little Rock. She also presented evidence of the strong bond between Q.L. and B.L. and the impact that the sibling separation was having on B.L. Likewise, Littleton presented evidence to the court concerning his income of $900 a month in Social Security benefits and about $1, 200 a month in veteran's benefits. Littleton said that he was currently living in a one-bedroom apartment where Q.L. usually slept on the couch in the living room, but he planned to get a four-bedroom house with ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.