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Blumenshine v. Hall

Court of Appeals of Georgia

October 30, 2014

BLUMENSHINE
v.
HALL

Page 648

Cert. applied for.

Custody. Oglethorpe Superior Court. Before Judge Malcom.

Regina M. Quick, David F. Ellison, for appellant.

Wiggins Norris Coffey, Shannon C. Coffey, for appellee.

ANDREWS, Presiding Judge. McFadden and Ray, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 649

Andrews, Presiding Judge.

Joshua F. Blumenshine appeals from the order of the Oglethorpe County Superior Court modifying custody of his minor children and determining child support obligations under OCGA § 19-6-15 and related issues.

Joshua and Michelle Blumenshine divorced in Wyoming in 2008 with three minor children the issue of their marriage -- twins born on August 17, 2001 and a third child born on March 22, 2004. The Wyoming divorce decree awarded the parties joint legal custody of the children and awarded the mother physical custody subject to the father's visitation rights. The mother relocated from Wyoming to Oglethorpe County, Georgia, and both parties subsequently married new spouses. The mother's current married name is Michelle Leigh Hall. In April 2011, the Oglethorpe County Superior Court issued an order on Blumenshine's petition to modify the Wyoming decree and on Hall's counterclaim. At the time, evidence showed that Blumenshine was scheduled to live with his new wife (a member of the United States Air Force) at a military base in Germany, and Hall was scheduled to live with her new husband (a member of the United States Army) at a military base in the state of Washington. Considering the circumstances, the Court's April 2011 modification order awarded Blumenshine and Hall joint physical and legal custody of the three children and gave each parent primary physical custody of the children for alternating years. While the children were in Blumenshine's primary custody for the first year (June 2011 to June 2012) pursuant to the April 2011 modification order, Blumenshine filed another petition for modification of custody in December 2011 in the Oglethorpe County Superior Court seeking sole custody of the children on grounds that changed circumstances showed Hall was not fit to have the children returned to her primary custody for the next school year under the April 2011 order. Hall answered and counterclaimed alleging changed circumstances showing that she was entitled to modification of custody awarding her physical custody of the children. The December 2011 modification action and counterclaim was tried before the Superior Court, which issued a final order in November 2013 giving Hall and Blumenshine joint legal custody of [329 Ga.App. 450] the three children, giving Hall primary physical custody (subject to Blumenshine's visitation rights), determining child support obligations pursuant to OCGA § 19-6-15, ruling that Hall had the right to claim the income tax dependency exemptions for the children, and awarding attorney fees to Hall.

Blumenshine appeals from the Superior Court's November 2013 order. For the following reasons, we affirm the child custody determination and the ruling on dependency exemptions, reverse the child support determination,

Page 650

vacate the attorney fee award, and remand the case to the trial court for reconsideration of child support and attorney fees in accordance with this opinion.

1. Blumenshine contends that the Superior Court erred by changing custody and awarding physical custody ...


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