Officially released October 2, 2018.
In short: (1) failure to follow the provisions of a parenting plan in incurring costs can prevent a finding of contempt for payment of activities and unreimbursed expenses, (2) under limited circumstances, the Appellate Court may raise sua sponte the doctrine of res judicata, and (3) the ratio of words to precedential value in this decision is abominably low.
Two self-represented parties engaged in a knock-down drag-out war of excessive motion practice and multiple appeals. The facts underpinning this second appeal are too voluminous to summarize in full in light of their minimal precedential value. The judgment was affirmed in full.
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a motion for contempt for failure to pay unreimbursed medical expenses where the provisions of the parenting plan requiring certain procedures prior to obtaining non-emergency medical treatment had not been followed.
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying, without prejudice, a motion for contempt as to costs for extracurricular activities where it was unclear whether the requirements for enrollment under the parenting plan had been satisfied and it was unclear which expenses remained unpaid.
The Appellate Court declined to address a claim regarding failure to execute an authorization by raising res judicata, sua sponte (although ordinarily res judicata must be pled), based on the prior appellate decision in this matter. On a related claim, the trial court properly did not find contempt where a sufficient underlying order did not exist.
Where an order required division of a joint tax refund and the parties filed separately, the trial court properly declined to find contempt for failure to pay one half of the joint refund.
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying modification of division of guardian ad litem fees where no evidence other than financial affidavits was provided as the amount owed and the evidence proffered as to assets and income did not support the modification.
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in modifying child support where a substantial change in circumstances existed in one child graduating high school and reaching the age of majority and the court conformed its finding to the presumptive guidelines. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in failing to hear a cross motion to modify where the party filing the motion failed to mention the motion during the hearing, among other things.
The trial court did not err regarding a contempt finding on alimony, where it corrected the amount owed based on stipulation by both parties.