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Sopczak v. Sopczak

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

September 8, 2017

JONATHAN C. SOPCZAK Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
NICHOLE L. SOPCZAK Defendant-Appellee

         Trial Court Case No. 2014-DR-844 (Domestic Relations Appeal)

          DAVID M. MCNAMEE, Atty. Reg. No. 0068582, 2625 Commons Boulevard, Suite A, Beavercreek, Ohio 45431 Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellant

          LORI R. CICERO, Atty. Reg. No. 0079508, 500 East Fifth Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402 Attorney for Defendant-Appellee

          OPINION

          TUCKER, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant Jonathan Sopczak appeals from a final judgment and decree of divorce. He contends that the trial court erred by finding him in contempt for violating a temporary spousal support order. He further contends that the court erred in awarding a term of spousal support to his ex-wife, Nicole Sopczak. Finally, Mr. Sopczak claims that the trial court abused its discretion with regard to the parenting time awarded to him.

         {¶ 2} We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion with regard to either spousal support or the finding of contempt. However, we do conclude that the trial court abused its discretion by limiting Mr. Sopczak's parenting time to the standard order.

         {¶ 3} Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 4} The parties were married in 2006, and have three minor children as a result of their union. Mr. Sopczak filed a complaint for divorce in August of 2014. Ms. Sopczak filed an answer and counterclaim. On September 26, 2014, the trial court entered a temporary order for spousal support that stated in pertinent part:

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that [Mr. Sopczak] shall pay to [Ms. Sopczak] by way of temporary spousal support, the sum of $1, 550.00 beginning 10/01/14. If [Ms. Sopczak] is residing in the marital residence, [Mr. Sopczak] shall have the right, option and privilege of discharging this monthly spousal support by paying the mortgage/rent (including taxes and

insurance) and basic utilities at the marital residence. If [Ms. Sopczak] is not residing in the marital residence, [Mr. Sopczak] shall pay the monthly spousal support directly to [Ms. Sopczak].

         {¶ 5} The order further stated that no award of temporary custody would be made. {¶ 6} On March 3, 2015, Mr. Sopczak filed a motion for a hearing on the temporary orders. On May 11, 2015, Ms. Sopczak filed a motion to show cause seeking a finding of contempt based upon Mr. Sopczak's failure to abide by the temporary support order. A hearing was conducted on June 17, 2015 at which time the parties entered into an agreed order. The order stated that a withholding order would issue for the payment of the temporary spousal support and that Mr. Sopczak would pay the June support directly to Ms. Sopczak. The agreed order also stated that the arrearage on support, as well as the motion to show cause, would be determined at the final hearing. Finally, the order set parenting time as follows:

[Mr. Sopczak] shall have parenting time alternating weekends from Friday at 4 p.m. until Tuesday at 9 a.m. starting June 26, 2015. In the weeks following mother's weekend, father will have parenting time from Monday at 4 p.m. until Wednesday at 9 a.m. When school starts, father will return the children to school or daycare and mother will pick up the children from school/daycare. On father's days, the parties shall exchange the children at 4 p.m. at the Second District Police Station. The intent of the parties is to have the children with mother while father is working.

         {¶ 7} The final hearing was conducted on August 25, 2015. Thereafter, the magistrate filed a decision finding Mr. Sopczak in contempt for failing to comply with the temporary spousal support order. The magistrate made an award of spousal support to Ms. Sopczak in the sum of $850 per month for a period of 35 months. The magistrate also granted parenting time in excess of the standard order. Specifically, the magistrate ordered that weekend parenting time begin on Friday after work and ...


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