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Bowman v. Bowman

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 6, 2017

Deborah H. Bowman [nka Hayden], Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Louis L. Bowman, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations C.P.C. No. 04DR-1009

          On brief: Reash Law Offices, LLC, and Maryellen Corna Reash, for appellee.

          On brief: Robert C Hetterscheidt, for appellant.

          DECISION

          HORTON, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Louis L. Bowman, appeals from the January 19, 2017 judgment entry of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, denying his motion to terminate or modify spousal support to plaintiff-appellee, Deborah Hayden, aka Deborah H. Bowman. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} The parties were married on September 30, 1977, and there were five children born as issue of the marriage. On March 15, 2004, appellee filed for divorce. The parties were divorced on March 15, 2007, through an agreed judgment entry and decree of divorce ("Agreed Divorce Decree"). In the Agreed Divorce Decree, it was stipulated that, in 2006 (the year prior to the divorce), appellant earned $254, 441, and appellee earned $49, 505.

         {¶ 3} Pursuant to the agreement of the parties, appellant was to pay the sum of $6, 000 per month to appellee as spousal support. The Agreed Divorce Decree states that "such support shall be indefinite and subject to the continuing jurisdiction of the Court to modify the amount and the term of such support upon motion of either plaintiff or defendant and a showing of changed circumstances, pursuant to R.C. 3105.18(E)." (Mar. 15, 2007 Agreed Divorce Decree at 6.) On April 13, 2007, appellant remarried, and his new wife had two daughters who were minors at that time.

         {¶ 4} On March 31, 2014, appellant filed a supplemental motion to terminate or modify spousal support. On October 20, 2014, appellee filed a cross-motion to modify spousal support. The matter proceeded to an evidentiary hearing before a magistrate on September 15, 2015. The magistrate issued a decision on September 27, 2016, denying both motions. In regards to appellant's motion, the magistrate found a substantial change of circumstances based on: (1) appellant's decrease in hourly wage rate; (2) appellant's increase in work hours; (3) appellant's increase in income; and (4) appellee's decrease in income. However, even with this finding, the magistrate concluded that the "spousal support continues to be appropriate, reasonable and equitable at the rate of $6, 000.00 per month." (Sept. 27, 2016 Mag. Decision at 24.)

         {¶ 5} Appellant filed objections to the magistrate's decision on October 5, 2016, and supplemental objections on January 3, 2017. Appellee filed objections on October 17, 2016. In addition, oral arguments were held on January 10, 2017 before the trial judge. On January 19, 2017, the trial court issued its decision and judgment entry finding that no substantial change in circumstances had occurred and, as relevant to this appeal, concluded:

The Court acknowledges that the Magistrate found a "substantial" change of circumstances and as such, made further findings as to an appropriate amount. This Court having found no substantial change does not need to review the factors set forth in R.C. 3105.18(F). However, the Court having previously reviewed the transcript and exhibits would find no basis upon which to reach a different conclusion from the Magistrate when applying R.C. 3105.18 as to an appropriate ongoing Order.
The Court hereby OVERRULES the Plaintiffs and Defendant's Objections. Rather than repeat the Findings of the Magistrate, the Court approves and adopts the Magistrate's Findings and Decision, except as modified herein.
Therefore, the Magistrate's Decision issued on September 27, 2016 is ...

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