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King v. King

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District

August 2, 2013

WILLIAM SCOTT KING, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRITTNEY T. KING, Defendant-Appellant.

Brittney T. King, Tiffin, Ohio, pro se Appellant.

William Scott King, Jackson, Ohio, pro se Appellee.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

HARSHA, J.

{¶1} Brittney King appeals the trial court's judgment granting a divorce to the parties. Initially she argues that the trial court erred by finding her boyfriend's use of corporal punishment "inappropriate" and ordering her to prevent the boyfriend from paddling the parties' children. Nevertheless, Ms. King's boyfriend is not the natural parent of any of the children and there is no evidence in the record that Ms. King directed her boyfriend to use corporal punishment. Because the court's order restricting a nonparent from unilaterally using corporal punishment is in the children's best interest and does not unreasonably infringe upon Ms. King's right to parent, it is neither unconstitutional or an abuse of discretion.

{¶2} Next, Ms. King claims that the trial court erred by establishing the termination date of the marriage as February 12, 2010, but ordering child support effective August 15, 2011. Because App.R. 16(A)(7) requires her to cite legal authority in support of her assignment of error, and she failed to do so, we summarily reject this argument.

{¶3} Ms. King also contends that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to find Mr. King voluntarily underemployed when calculating child support. Ms. King argues that Mr. King voluntarily left his job working as an overseas private security consultant making $120, 000 annually and now works as a trash collector making approximately $30, 000 annually; thus, the trial court should have found him voluntarily underemployed. Mr. King testified at trial that he ended his employment as a private security consultant because he needed to stay home and care for the children after filing for divorce. Additionally, he testified that he applied to over 20 positions locally before accepting work as a trash collector and only made $40, 000-$45, 000 while previously working in Ohio. Considering this evidence, we cannot say that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to find Mr. King voluntarily underemployed.

{¶4} Ms. King also argues that the trial court erred by awarding Mr. King the tax dependency exemption for the minor children without first finding that it would result in a net tax savings to the parties. Under R.C. 3119.82 there is a presumption in favor of granting the dependency tax exemption to the residential parent. Before a trial court can grant the tax exemption to the nonresidential parent, it must find that it furthers the best interests of the children. The best interests of the children are furthered if granting the nonresidential parent the dependency tax exemption results in a net tax savings to the parties. Because the trial court simply granted the tax dependency exemption to Mr. King, the nonresidential parent, without making a finding that it would result in a net tax savings to the parties and furthered the best interests of the children, we agree that it abused its discretion.

{¶5} Ms. King also presents numerous arguments concerning the trial court's division of property. She contends that the trial court erred by failing to classify the parties' assets as either marital or separate before dividing them and also that the court inequitably divided the property. She further argues that the court erred by accepting Mr. King's valuation of specific assets and debts. We agree that in violation of R.C. 3105.171(B) the trial court's entry does not classify the parties' property as marital or separate. Although Ms. King claims that the court accepted Mr. King's valuation of certain property, our review shows that it never actually adopted his valuations or otherwise placed a value on any of the contested property. Thus, we agree that the trial court erred by not valuing the parties' property before dividing it.

{¶6} Next, Ms. King argues claims that the trial court erred by denying her spousal support. Because property division is a factor that the court must consider in deciding whether to award spousal support we agree. After the court makes a new allocation of property on remand, it must re-evaluate its decision on spousal support.

{¶7} Finally, Ms. King contends that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to find that Mr. King committed financial misconduct. She argues that Mr. King disposed of certain marital assets in violation of a mutual restraining order and implies that the trial court should have awarded her a distributive award or greater share of the marital property as a result. Because, the trial court did not address the issue of financial misconduct in its entry and in light of our remand concerning the property distribution the court should revisit this issue also.

I. FACTS

{¶8} The parties married in 1991 and subsequently had four children. In 2004, Mr. King took a position working out of the country as a private security consultant. His schedule consisted of working out of the country for 90 days and then returning home for 30 days. In early 2010, Ms. King left the martial home with the children. Thereafter, Mr. King filed for divorce and ended his employment as a private security consultant.

{¶9} The trial court awarded Mr. King temporary custody of three of the parties' children and Ms. King temporary custody of their oldest son. After the matter proceeded to trial, the court granted the parties a divorce. It designated Ms. King as the legal custodian and primary residential parent of the three minor children, as the parties' oldest child had reached the age of 18 by the time the trial court granted the divorce. The court granted Mr. King the dependency tax exemption for the children and ordered him to pay child support, but denied spousal support to either party. The court also distributed the parties' property, including the martial home and vehicles. This appeal followed.

II. ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

{¶10} Ms. King raises nine assignments of error for our review:

1. "TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT FAILED TO APPLY ANY PROPER LEGAL STANDARD WHEN IT ORDERED THE APPELLANT - BRITTNEY KING TO TAKE AFFIRMATIVE DUTY UPON BRITTNEY KING TO ASSURE TOD SCOTT DOES NOT USE PADDLING OR ANY OTHER FORM OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT ON ANY OF THE CHILDREN. THE TRIAL COURT AGAIN DEMONSTRATED PREJUDICE AND BIAS TOWARDS BRITTNEY KING BY SINGLING OUT THE APPELLANTS BOYFRIEND SOLELY, ORDERING BRITTNEY KING TO NOT ALLOW THE MINOR CHILDREN TO BE SPANKED OR ANY FORMS OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE BOYFRIEND."
2. "THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT USED A DE FACTO TERMINATION DATE OF MARRIAGE AND IT WAS UNILATERAL NOT BILATERAL AND UNCLEAR FOR THE PURPOSE OF EQUITY DISTRIBUTION AND THEN ESTABLISHED THE DATE OF THE CHILD SUPPORT AS OF AUGUST 15, 2011."
3. "TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT FAILED TO FIND WILLIAM KING CULPABLE OF FINANCIAL MISCONDUCT WHEN THE PLAINTIFF IMPROPERLY AND CONTRARY TO LAW DISPOSED OF MARITAL ASSETS AND CONCEALED ASSETS WHICH WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE."
4. "TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND RULED AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE WHEN IT ACCEPTED MR. KING'S VALUATION OF THE 2005 HARLEY DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLE."
5. "TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND WENT AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE WHEN IF[sic] FAILED TO FIND MR. KING VOLUNTARILY UNDER EMPLOYED AND FAILED TO IMPUTE INCOME FOR THE DETERMINATION OF CHILD SUPPORT."
6. "TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT TOOK THE SOLE TESTIMONY OF MR. KING AND 'SPECULATED' THE TAX LIABILITY WAS $80, 000 WHICH WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND AWARDED HIM MARTIAL ASSETS BASED OFF THE ...

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