Officially released June 25, 2019.
In Short: Evidentiary rulings will not result in reversal without a showing of harm.
The Facts: The parties married in 2000 and had one minor child. After a five day trial they were divorced in 2017. Wife testified at trial about an incident where Husband was arrested. Husband objected on the grounds that the charges had been dismissed and his objection was overruled. The trial court entered orders including primary residence with Wife and a finding of financial arrearage owed by Husband. Wife filed a post-judgment motion for contempt regarding the financial arrearage. The trial court made a finding of arrearage and ordered payment but did not make a finding as to willfulness or a finding of contempt. Husband appealed the judgment and the orders on the post-judgment contempt motion.
The Appellate Court reviewed the evidentiary decision to permit testimony as to the arrest for abuse of discretion and whether any error was harmful. The Appellate Court held that, while the trial court failed to specify its reason for permitting the testimony in light of the charges being dismissed, even if that were to constitute error, Husband failed to show that the testimony harmed him.
The Appellate Court held that the contempt finding did not constitute a final judgment as the issue of willfulness or inability to pay was left open for a future court date.
The Judgment of dissolution was affirmed and the appeal dismissed in part with regard to the motion for contempt.