FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23DR-17-775],
HONORABLE H.G. FOSTER, JUDGE
Rice Grinder, for appellant.
& McKinney, PLLC, Conway, by: Jared C. McKinney, for
D. VAUGHT, Judge
parties in this case, Brittany Cunningham and Bryan
Cunningham, were divorced by an amended decree entered by the
Faulkner County Circuit Court on September 13, 2018. Brittany
appeals from the decree arguing that the circuit court
clearly erred by awarding joint custody. We affirm.
Brittany and Bryan were married on July 7, 2014. They have
one child, PC, who was born on July 31, 2015. On August 29,
2017, Brittany filed a complaint for divorce on the basis of
general indignities and sought full custody of PC. In Bryans
answer, he requested full custody of PC.
divorce hearing, the only issues presented were custody,
visitation, and child support. Brittany testified that before
she married Bryan, she had been married to Brandon Betz and
that they have two boys together. When she and Brandon
divorced in March 2014, they agreed to joint custody, and
they equally split the boys time and expenses. She said the
arrangement had been working well.
Brittany testified that after she married Bryan, who also has
children from a prior marriage, he made her joint-custody
arrangement with Brandon difficult. Brittany testified that
Bryan treated her boys differently than he treated his
children, and Bryan accused Brittany of staring at Brandon or
trying to stand next to him at the boys sporting events and
at custody exchanges. She said that Bryan did not like her to
be around Brandon or a man she was "casual[ly]
dating" named Jeremy McGaugh.
Brittany also testified that she has been the primary
caregiver for PC since her birth. Brittany said that during
the marriage, Bryan spent much of his time working and did
not spend much time with PC. Brittany said she and Bryan are
physical therapists for the same home-health care company;
however, Bryan works more than she does. She said that since
the parties separation, Bryans work schedule has prevented
him from exercising his full visitation with PC and that he
often calls her to keep PC so he can work.
Brittany stated that she was not opposed to the concept of
joint custody in general but not with Bryan. She complained
that his communication skills were "awful" and that
his failure to communicate caused problems. She said that he
would not give her twenty-four-hour notice of his plans to
exercise visitation and that he ignored her calls and texts.
She also complained that Bryan did not put PCs needs first,
he said "hateful" things about Brittany in front of
PC, he would not give PC a bath after playing outside, he is
not as structured with PCs schedule as Brittany is, he took
PC on a church fishing trip when she was sick, and he brought
her to his work. Finally, she complained that because Bryan
did not exercise all his visitation with PC during the
separation, she did not think he would be able to keep PC for
an entire week. She said he is too focused on his work and
unable to prioritize PC. She testified that if the parties
joint custody of PC, they would be back in court on that
issue within three or four months.
testified that he originally opposed the divorce and wanted
to save the marriage. He said he and Brittany continued to be
romantically involved as late as November 2017. Bryan stated
that during that same time, Brittany was also romantically
involved with Jeremy, which upset Bryan because he wanted to
be with Brittany and because he did not want Jeremy around