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Carr-MacArthur v. Carr

Supreme Court of Georgia

October 20, 2014

CARR-MacARTHUR
v.
CARR

Domestic relations. Houston Superior Court. Before Judge Nunn.

Tamar O. Faulhaber, for appellant.

Christopher Carr, pro se.

HINES, Presiding Justice. All the Justices concur.

OPINION

Page 841

Hines, Presiding Justice.

Annie Carr-MacArthur (" Mother" ) appeals from the superior court's grant of a change

Page 842

in child custody and child support in regard to her minor child. For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

Mother and Christopher Carr (" Father" ) were married in 2004; the only child of the marriage was born in 2005. The couple were divorced on June 2, 2009, and the incorporated settlement agreement gave the parties joint legal custody of the child, with primary physical custody to Mother, who had just moved to Florida; Father, who is in the Air Force, remained in Georgia, where he is currently based. At the time of the divorce, Mother had certain physical and mental health issues, of which Father was aware, and that he believed to be manageable.

On February 6, 2010, Mother surrendered physical custody of the child to Father after the Florida Department of Family and Children Services determined that her home was unsafe, due to conditions such as moldy food, trash on the floor with barely room to walk, empty prescription bottles found throughout the home, and cat food on the floor and kitchen table. In February 2010, in the juvenile court in Georgia, Father filed a petition for deprivation after Mother requested the child be returned to her; in October 2010, Father filed a petition for modification of custody, child support, and alimony. In a final order entered September 13, 2013, the trial court modified [296 Ga. 31] custody, named Father the primary physical custodian, and made associated changes in child support.

1. Mother contends that the evidence did not support the trial court's finding that a change in material conditions had occurred that adversely affected the child, as required by OCGA § 19-9-3.[1]

" A trial court faced with a petition for modification of child custody is charged with exercising its discretion to determine what is in the child's best interest." Viskup v. Viskup, 291 Ga. 103, 105 (2) (727 S.E.2d 97) (2012). See OCGA § 19-9-3 (a) (2). A trial court's decision regarding a change in custody/visitation will be upheld on appeal unless it is shown that the court clearly abused its discretion. Haskell v. Haskell, 286 Ga. 112 (1) (686 S.E.2d 102) (2009). Where there is ...

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