Too Early for Appeal; Case Dismissed

A mother who has had a court transfer custody of both her children from her to their two different fathers can’t appeal her case until the court awards child support. That’s the decision from the Alabama Court of Appeals in Alvira v. Campbell, Case No. 2030423 (Ala. Civ. App. March 25, 2005).

The trial court had entered orders transferring custody and had instructed the parties to submit CS-41 income affidavits and recent pay stubs. The order said simply that “child support will then be determined accordingly by separate order.” There is no further order relating to child support in the record.

Here’s the Appeals Court’s language:

“An appeal ordinarily lies only from a final judgment.” Tomlinson v. Tomlinson, 816 So. 2d 57, 58 (Ala. Civ. App. 2001). “For a judgment to be final, it must be issued by a court of competent jurisdiction and reflect a complete resolution of each and every matter in controversy.” Potter v. Owens, 535 So. 2d 173, 174 (Ala. Civ. App. 1988). Because the trial court’s custody-modification order did not dispose of the issue of child support and because the record on appeal does not indicate that the issue of child support was adjudicated, the modification order is not a final, appealable judgment. See Tomlinson, 816 So. 2d at 58; see also Reid v. Reid, 844 So. 2d 1212, 1214-15 (Ala. Civ. App. 2002). This court must therefore dismiss the mother’s appeals.

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