ROSANNE S. POTTER PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
WILLIAM M. POTTER DEFENDANT-APPELLANT
Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Division Case No. D-296540
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Anne C. Fantelli Gregory J. Moore Stafford & Stafford Co., L.P.A.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Richard A. Rabb Kaitlyn D. Arthurs McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman
BEFORE: E.T. Gallagher, J., E.A. Gallagher, P.J., and McCormack, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, J.
(¶ 1} Defendant-appellant William M. Potter ("William") appeals the denial of post-decree motions to modify spousal support and for attorney fees. We find no merit to the appeal and affirm.
(¶ 2} William and plaintiff-appellee Rosanne S. Potter ("Rosanne") were divorced on September 4, 2007. The judgment entry of divorce ordered Rosanne to pay William spousal support in the amount of $3, 000 per month for a period of 42 months from May 1, 2007 through November 1, 2010. The trial court reserved jurisdiction to modify the spousal support during the 42-month period pursuant to R.C. 3105.18, if a change in circumstances warranted a modification. As part of the divorce, the court also equally divided parties' marital assets, and William received over half a million dollars. Neither party was ordered to pay child support even though they had two minor children born as issue during the marriage.
(¶ 3} Prior to the divorce, Rosanne was employed by Lubrizol Corporation and earned $208, 300 annually as a base salary. However, her 2007 tax return indicates that Rosanne earned a total of $471, 879 that year as a result of Lubrizol's one time payment of deferred compensation at the end of her employment. At the time of the divorce, Rosanne was working part-time for RTI, International Metals, Inc. ("RTI") as a temporary employee under a contract with Resources Global Professionals and made $125, 000 per year. RTI hired Rosanne as a full time employee on April 1, 2008, at a lower hourly rate. However, because she started working full time, her salaried income increased to $145, 000 per year plus bonuses. One month later, Rosanne accepted a position at Eaton Corporation with an annual salary of $147, 500, plus bonuses. Rosanne's tax returns indicate that she earned $186, 579 in 2008, $151, 933 in 2009, and $132, 952 in 2010.
(¶ 4} William has had diabetes mellitus and heart disease for several years. He had open heart surgery in 1995, bypass surgery in 1996, and suffered a heart attack in 2005. Although William attended a few years of college and graduated as a pastry chef from Culinary Institute of America in 1995, he was unemployed at the time of the divorce and had no income other than the spousal support he received from Rosanne. He admittedly has no commercial sales training, limited computer skills, and has not worked since 1998.
(¶ 5} Rosanne remarried after the divorce. At the time of the divorce Rosanne and the parties' minor children were living with Rosanne and present husband David Beveridge ("Beveridge"). Rosanne and Beveridge share equally in the household expenses, but individually pay expenses for their respective children. Rosanne has paid all of the children's expenses including daycare, medical expenses, and Catholic school tuition, without contribution from William.
(¶ 6} On April 8, 2009, William filed a motion to modify support and a motion for attorney fees. On September 14, 2009, Rosanne filed a motion to modify child support, motion to modify spousal support, and for attorney fees. Rosanne argued that William should pay child support since she has full-time custody of the children and pays all of their expenses. She also argued that the amount of her spousal support obligation should be reduced to reflect a decrease in her income.
(¶ 7} William, on the other hand, argued that he was entitled to an increase in spousal support because while Rosanne's income has substantially increased and her expenses have decreased since the divorce, his medical expenses have increased. He asserted that he has no health insurance, no employment, minimal assets, and large medical bills. Therefore, he argued, there has been a significant change in circumstances justifying an upward modification of spousal support in both amount and term. He also claimed that Rosanne should pay his attorney fees.
(¶ 8} On March 21, 2012, a magistrate issued a decision denying all motions and William filed timely objections to the magistrate's decision. On January 7, 2013, the court issued a judgment entry overruling all of William's objections and adopting the magistrate's decision without modification. William now appeals and raises four assignments of error.
Modification of Spousal Support
(¶ 9} In his first assignment of error, William argues the trial court abused its discretion by denying his motion to modify spousal support. In his second assignment of error, William argues the trial court abused its discretion by failing to comply with Civ.R. 53 when it adopted the magistrate's decision without modification. In the fourth assignment of error, William argues the magistrate's decision is against ...