The parties were divorced in June 2007. An August 2007 order awarded custody of the parties' four minor children, aged three to six at the time, to Sabrina P. Mullendore (Mother). Father undertook various efforts to address concerns regarding his parenting ability raised by the district court during the initial divorce proceedings. On November 19, 2008, Father filed a motion to modify the August 2007 order in which he sought joint custody and equal visitation with the children. Mother filed a "counter-motion" to modify seeking to reduce Father's current visitation and to terminate the parenting coordinator previously appointed by the court. The district court denied Mother's motion to reduce Father's visitation but granted her motion with respect to termination of the parenting coordinator. Father appeals the denial of his motion to modify, the order terminating the parenting coordinator and the award of attorney fees to Mother.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Custody contests are of equitable cognizance, and although an appellate court may examine and weigh the evidence, the findings and decree of the trial court cannot be disturbed unless found to be against the clear weight of the evidence or an abuse of discretion. Daniel v. Daniel, 2001 OK 117, ¶ 21, 42 P.3d 863, 871; Mueggenborg v. Walling, 1992 OK 121, ¶ 7, 836 P.2d 112, 114. We will affirm a district court's determination with respect to a request to modify a child custody order unless "the trial court's decision is clearly against the weight of the evidence so as to constitute an abuse of discretion." Williamson v. Williamson, 2005 OK 6, ¶ 5, 107 P.3d 589, 591. "An abuse of discretion occurs when a decision is based on an erroneous conclusion of law or where there is no rational basis in evidence for the ruling." In re BTW, 2008 OK 80, ¶ 20, 195 P.3d 896, 908 (footnote omitted).
Father's appeal raises three issues for disposition. A fourth issue, that Mother relied on facts not in the record during her written closing argument, will not be considered. Father did not object after receiving Mother's closing argument or notify the district court of his position regarding the challenged statement. Generally, this Court does not reach issues the appealing party fails to raise in the district court, and we decline to do so here. Bottles v. State ex rel. Oklahoma State Bd. of Med. Licensure and Supervision, 1996 OK 59, ¶ 4, 917 P.2d 471, 472; Jackson v. Jackson, 2002 OK 25, n.12, 45 P.3d 418.
Judge(s): John F. Fischer
Jurisdiction: Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Court of Appeals Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Bradley Grundy||Hall Estill Hardwick Gable Golden & Nelson PC|
|Suzanne Kern||Hall Estill Hardwick Gable Golden & Nelson PC|
|Jada Stiner||Hall Estill Hardwick Gable Golden & Nelson PC|
|Richard Wagner, II||Hall Estill Hardwick Gable Golden & Nelson PC|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Pamela Anthony||Anthony & Associates PLLC|
|Jon Brightmire||Doerner Saunders Daniel & Anderson LLP|
|Sam Daniel||Doerner Saunders Daniel & Anderson LLP|