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Domestic Relations

Aug 24, 2021

Fraud pleading insufficient to set aside divorce decree

The circuit court correctly concluded that it lacked power to grant equitable relief despite appellant’s pleading that the separation agreement was unconscionable and procured by fraud. Background Stephanie Shobe filed for divorce after a 10-year marriage to Steve Gilman, the appellant in this case. Gilman waived all service of process and notice. The court entered […]

Aug 16, 2021

Calculation of husband’s support obligation upheld

The trial court correctly determined that money wife gave to her mother was “part of the lifestyle” established during the marriage and properly considered it when determining the amount of husband’s spousal support obligation. Discussion In a companion case, this court determined in a published opinion that the trial court correctly ruled that changed circumstances […]

Aug 16, 2021

Changed circumstances justified decreased support

Where husband accepted a voluntary separation package when it became clear that his corporate vice president’s position was being eliminated, the trial court correctly determined that this was a changed circumstance justifying a reduced spousal support obligation. Background When the parties divorced in 2017 after a 30-year marriage, the trial court awarded appellant wife $10,000 […]

Jul 30, 2021

Court lacked jurisdiction to issue support order

Where appellant wife served process of her divorce action on husband by publication, the circuit court correctly vacated a portion of the divorce decree ordering him to pay child support. The court never acquired personal jurisdiction over him. Overview The parties, Erin and James Evans, married in 1999, had three children, separated in 2004 and […]

Jul 29, 2021

No showing technical problems affected outcome

Even though husband had technical difficulties joining an online videoconference of his divorce trial – he could observe the proceedings but others could not see or hear him – the trial court properly denied his motion for a continuance. Husband has waived his due process challenge to going forward with trial. Further, even assuming the […]

Jul 29, 2021

Support amendment correctly denied, contempt finding upheld

The trial court correctly found that husband was not entitled to pay a reduced amount of spousal support. The court’s findings that he was in contempt for failing to pay spousal support and not surrendering certain property to wife are also affirmed. Support modification “[T]he court found a material change in circumstances. However, it determined […]

Jul 15, 2021

Husband entitled to credit for support overpayments

Where the J&DR court reduced husband’s spousal support obligation but did not reference any overages or set a repayment schedule until after a hearing conducted several months later, the circuit court correctly ruled that husband’s motion for overage payments “was not precluded by Rule 1:1, res judicata, or Code § 20-107.1.” Support modification The parties’ […]

Jul 15, 2021

Amended spousal support statute applies retroactively

Where the parties’ agreement regarding the non-modifiable amount and duration of husband’s spousal support payments to wife did not exactly conform with language required by a July 1, 2018, amendment to the applicable statute, a later amendment that permitted more general language applies retroactively and bars husband’s request to modify his support obligation. Statutory background [&hellip[...]

Jul 12, 2021

Mother must return child to Canadian father

Where the Canadian father established the minor child was “habitually resident” in Canada when she was removed by the mother, the removal was in breach of his Canadian rights and the mother failed to show the child was in grave risk of harm if returned, the child was ordered returned to the father. Background Bryce […]

Jul 12, 2021

Court correctly calculated child support obligation

The circuit court correctly declined to subtract father’s mortgage payment from rents received when calculating his income for child support purposes. Further, the court properly refused to credit father for medical insurance payments on the children’s behalf where there was no evidence the payments had been made. Overview Following their separation, the parties stipulated that […]

Jun 29, 2021

Parental rights not terminated by curtailed visitation

The circuit court did not “terminate” father’s parental rights when it denied his motion to change custody, imposed conditions father needed to meet before visitation could resume and issued a protective order in favor of mother and the parties’ child. A faulty premise “The arguments advanced by father are based upon a faulty premise – […]

Jun 29, 2021

Husband in contempt for violating settlement terms

The circuit court properly found husband in contempt for failing to pay child support and wife’s work-related child care costs. The parties’ property settlement agreement in the final order of divorce provided that modifications had to be in writing and signed by the parties. Although the parties exchanged emails that discussed a modification, the parties […]

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