Trial Court No. 06DR000949.
Joseph F. Albrechta and John A. Coble, for appellee.
Lisa M. Snyder, for appellant.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
(¶ 1} James R. Horn appeals a May 14, 2012 judgment of the Sandusky County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division. The judgment is a final judgment of divorce. Appellant asserts two assignments of error on appeal and contends the trial court erred in its awards of spousal support and attorney fees:
Assignment of Error No. I. The trial court abused its discretion in finding that appellee is entitled to an award of spousal support in the amount of $1, 600 per month for 60 months.
Assignment of Error No. II. The trial court abused its discretion in finding that appellee is entitle to an award of attorney fees in the amount of $15, 000.
(¶ 2} Appellee brought suit with the filing of a complaint for divorce on September 22, 2006. By consent of the parties, on November 15, 2006, the trial court ordered appellant to pay appellee temporary spousal support of $1, 000 per month. Appellant filed his answer and a counterclaim for divorce on March 26, 2007.
(¶ 3} The case proceeded to a final hearing on March 9, 2010. At the hearing, the parties reported to the court that they had reached an agreement resolving all issues arising from the marriage other than spousal support. The parties read their agreement into the record. At the hearing the parties also agreed to submit the issue of spousal support to the court for determination on briefs with agreed stipulations of fact. The parties agreed that a stipulation of facts would be submitted to the court within seven days. Fourteen days later briefs on spousal support were due. The parties agreed to waive the filing of any reply briefs.
(¶ 4} On July 8, 2011, appellee filed a motion for an award of attorney fees against appellant due to claimed deliberate and repeated delays allegedly caused by appellant to prevent the case from proceeding to final judgment. Delaying tactics allegedly included unwarranted refusal to prepare or sign a consent judgment entry setting forth agreements read into the record on March 9, 2010, and intentional delays with respect to submitting a stipulation of facts for court determination of spousal support.
(¶ 5} On September 29, 2011, the parties filed a joint stipulation of facts for use by the court in determining spousal support. The parties submitted briefs on both spousal support and the motion for attorney fees.
(¶ 6} The trial court announced awards of spousal support and attorney fees in a decision filed on November 23, 2011. The court awarded appellee spousal support of $1, 600 per month for 60 months commencing in January 2012 and attorney fees in the amount of $15, 000. The court directed counsel to prepare a final judgment entry of divorce incorporating the awards. The final judgment was journalized on May 14, 2012.
(¶ 7} Under Assignment of Error No. I, appellant argues first, that the trial court judgment is deficient because it does not state reasons for the award of spousal support. Second, appellant argues that the trial court abused its discretion both as to the amount and duration of the award.
(¶ 8} R.C. 3105.18 governs spousal support. A trial court must consider the factors listed in R.C. 3105.18(C)(1)(a) through (n) when determining whether spousal support is appropriate and in determining the amount, terms of payment, and duration of an award. Tallman v. Tallman, 6th Dist. Fulton No. F-03-008, 2004-Ohio-895, ¶ 43-57; R.C. 3105.18(C)(1).
(¶ 9} Appellant argues that under Kaechele v. Kaechele, 35 Ohio St.3d 93, 518 N.E.2d 1197 (1988) and this court's decision in Tallman that the trial court's judgment awarding spousal support was deficient and must be reversed because it failed to state reasons for the award. We disagree.
(¶ 10} In Tallman we recognized:
A trial court's decision granting spousal support will not be reversed on appeal unless the trial court abused its discretion in making the award. Kunkle v. Kunkle (1990), 51 Ohio St.3d 64, 67, 554 N.E.2d 83. Its decision must provide sufficient detail to enable a reviewing court to determine the award is fair, equitable, and in accordance with law. Kaechele v. Kaechele (1988), 35 Ohio St.3d 93, 97, 518 N.E.2d 1197. The trial court is not required to comment on each statutory factor. Instead, the record only needs to show that the ...