Theodore H. Enfield
Dissolution of Marriage Case Summaries
In the case of Trang Ngoan Le v. Tung Phuong Nguyen, a dissolution of marriage and child custody case, the trial court erred in not considering the best interests of the dependent children involved when creating the parenting plan for the parities’ marital settlement agreement. The wife tried to set a parenting plan before it was put into the final judgment, but the court required the former wife to prove that she had experienced a substantial change in circumstances, a very burdensome process. The final judgment was reversed and another hearing would take place to resolve the issue of the parenting plan and the child support.
In the dissolution of marriage case of Elizabeth Booth v. Rainey C. Booth, the trial court abused its discretion in regards to vacating an order denying attorney’s fees. The predecessor judge entered an order denying non-party attorney’s fees on the basis that there was a failure to prove any unreasonableness. The records did not find that the successor judge could vacate a final order of his predecessor, where there was no substantial evidence or circumstances to do so.
In a case dealing with dependent children, G.U., the mother v. The Department of Children and Families, The Department of Children and Families had filed a petition for the adjunction of dependency because the father of the children had sexually abused them. However the mother claimed that the father was not abusing the children and that she wanted him to live in the family home again; psychologist found that the children experienced emotional harm because the mother refused to believe the children. The mother did not want to participate in family therapy although the children needed it, and would not go until the court ordered it. Furthermore, there was a strong likelihood that the mother would allow the father to visit the family home which could put the children in emotional and physical danger. The court affirmed the order of adjunction of dependency.
The dissolution of marriage and rehabilitative alimony case of Phyllis Walker v. Daniel Walker, was given a reversed order so that the circuit court could consider a petition to alter an alimony award based on merit. The circuit court had jurisdiction over a petition seeking to change rehabilitative alimony to permanent alimony while increasing the amount of the award. There was an error to dismiss the petition for a lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
In the dissolution of marriage case of Sandra Goldstein v. Raymond Goldstein, the trial court abused its discretion when it denied the former wife’s request for attorney’s fees and the court failed to make the findings to the wife’s need and the husband’s ability to pay. There was evidence in the records of the wife’s need and the husband’s greater ability to pay at least a part of the wife’s costs. The court also erred in attributing the entire amount of CD to the former wife, even though the CD was a former marital asset. The CD was supposedly depleted to pay for the wife’s living expenses, however the court did not find that the depletion was caused by the wife’s misconduct.
In the dissolution of marriage case of Bernadette Doyle v. Patrick Joseph Doyle, the former husband filed a motion to vacate dismissal of the wife’s dissolution action, but the wife claimed to have never received the motion and did not attend the trial. The husband had an answer for affirmative relief that was sufficient to overcome the broad right to voluntary dismissal however it was an error to conduct the trial on the same date as the hearing without the wife’s presence because at best she could have had a notice of only four days. The trial court should have rescheduled the trail for the claims for each party and rendered its order vacating dismissal with notice to the former wife.
Rebecca Henderson v. Stephen G. Lyons and Kathy M. Leggett is a case involving a dissolution of marriage and parenting coordinator fees. The trial court abused its discretion when it entered a written order granting parenting coordinator’s motion for fees. The motion requested that the wife pay a large amount of the fees, but the wife did not have the financial ability to pay the fees. The trial court had ended before the wife’s attorney could cross-examine the parent coordinator and before the wife could present her own evidence to the court. The court failed to give the wife the appropriate opportunity to present her case and perform due process for all parties involved.