Virginia Lawyers Weekly//August 8, 2022
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//August 8, 2022//
A clause in a property settlement agreement requiring “great care” before either party introduces a romantic partner to the child is vague and cannot be enforced.
Further, where the court has ruled that the parties will pay their child’s unreimbursed medical expenses in proportion to their income, the prior ruling will not be modified.
“The Court in this opinion addresses two issues for resolution in the context of a broader ruling respecting modification of a child custody and support order entered in the parties’ divorce incorporating the terms of a property settlement agreement (‘PSA’).
“The Court is called upon to decide whether the PSA term delineating a specific percentage split obligation to pay unreimbursed child medical expenses is subject to modification, and whether a clause regulating the introduction of the parties’ romantic partners to their child may be deemed unenforceable.”
“The Court … holds the PSA custodial term that the parties are to exercise ‘great care prior to introducing’ their ‘boyfriends or girlfriends with whom they may have a romantic relationship’ to their child, is void as against public policy and unenforceable.
“The clause is unduly vague and calls upon the Court to unreasonably limit the freedom of association and speech of the parties interacting with their child into and throughout her adulthood.”
“The Court holds the statutory default presumption that division of reasonable and necessary unreimbursed medical expenses between the parents in a disputed child support proceeding is to be in proportion to their income, was not rebutted by the parties’ PSA setting fixed percentages.
“Such agreement is not within the statutorily-addressed deviation in a subsequent child support modification action as it no longer amicably resolves the entirety of the current child support dispute.
“Further, in this case, there is no other equitable basis that dictates the propriety of such a deviation. Thus, the child support order entered in this cause shall reflect the parties are obligated to pay reasonable and necessary unreimbursed medical expenses in proportion to their income as determined at trial.”
Powell v. Knoepfler-Powell, Case No. CL-2015-6475, May 5, 2022, Fairfax Circuit Court (Bernhard). Rebecca Bricken Kinsel for plaintiff, Sharon Voyles Filipour for defendant. VLW 022-8-039, 14 pp.