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Family Law

Apr 27, 2023

Aunt denied custody, visitation

Where the father and grandmother appealed a JDR court’s award of custody to a child’s maternal aunt, the circuit court held that the aunt has failed to satisfy the high burden to rebut the presumption that custody should be awarded to the parent. Presumption not overcome “[A] nonparent can overcome the parental presumption by proving, […]

Apr 20, 2023

Support award to wife upheld

Where the circuit court awarded wife $10,000 per month in spousal support, the court’s decision not to impute income to wife is supported by the record. Imputed income “At the outset, husband argues that the trial court should have imputed at least $65,000 of annual investment income to wife because his financial planning expert testified […]

Apr 10, 2023

Federal law permits contract to divide military pension

The Court of Appeals erred when it ruled that “certain indemnification provisions in a property settlement agreement that [wife] entered into with [husband] violated federal law and, therefore, were void ab initio.” Background The parties agreed on a division of husband’s military pension. The circuit court entered a Military Pension Division Order (MPDO) that gave […]

Apr 10, 2023

No good faith exception to will’s no contest provision

Where the decedent’s will contained a no contest provision, the circuit court correctly declined to adopt a good faith and probable cause exception to enforcing the provision. Background “Helton and his wife Carol were neighbors of Martha and William Stegmaier [the appellees in this case]. Kalle and Butler [Butler is the appellant] are Carol’s grandchildren […]

Apr 10, 2023

Costs and fees awarded for unwarranted motion

Where the trial court ruled that husband could not file a motion until he posted a $25,000 bond and personally appeared in court – a sanction imposed for disobeying previous court orders – the court properly sanctioned him $1,848 after he filed a motion “in defiance” of those conditions. Prior proceedings After husband filed for […]

Apr 10, 2023

Premarital agreement is enforceable

Where plaintiff and her now-deceased husband signed a premarital agreement in which each party disavowed any interest in the other’s assets, the agreement is enforceable despite plaintiff’s arguments that she did not voluntarily make the agreement and that it is unconscionable. Background Before Mr. Bernard Joiner (Mr. Joiner) and Oyunchimeg Munhuu, the plaintiff in this […]

Apr 3, 2023

Evidence shows that will was not destroyed

A copy of the testator’s will, which disinherited her sons, was properly admitted to probate. The estate’s executor successfully rebutted the presumption that the missing original “was revoked by clear and convincing evidence.” Overview After Lynch-Carbaugh died, Kenney, the estate’s executor, moved to probate a copy of Lynch-Carbaugh’s will, alleging that the original will could [&hel[...]

Apr 3, 2023

Support modification correctly denied

Even though husband was in an accident that prevented him from working, his income actually increased following the accident due to his receipt of Social Security benefits. As a result, the trial court correctly determined there were no changed circumstances warranting modification of his spousal support obligation. Overview When the parties divorced, they “signed a […]

Apr 3, 2023

Divorce on cruelty grounds affirmed

Where a JDR court issued two protective orders in wife’s favor against husband, and husband pleaded guilty to assaulting wife, this was sufficient corroboration of wife’s testimony that husband assaulted her. Further, a $4,000 per month support award to wife is affirmed. Testimony corroborated “Husband argues that the circuit court erred by granting wife a […]

Mar 28, 2023

Man’s claims against ex-wife don’t belong in federal court

Where the court dismissed all federal claims brought by an estranged husband, it declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims asserted against his former wife relating to their custody agreement. And, in any event, the court lacked jurisdiction to modify an existing custody order and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine precluded the attempted […]

Mar 28, 2023

Frozen embryos can be partitioned

Where the court previously ruled that a divorced couple’s frozen embryos could not be partitioned under the goods or chattels statute because the statute “refers only to partition of goods or chattels found on real property being partitioned,” on reconsideration, the court now rules that the statute permits the partition or, in the alternative, the […]

Mar 20, 2023

Third-party mortgage payments were marital contribution

Where a church, for a period of time when the parties were separated, paid the mortgage on the marital home, the trial court properly classified the payments as a marital contribution instead of crediting them as husband’s separate contribution. Overview The parties were married in 2005 and separated in March 2017. Wife filed for a […]

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