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O'Hara v. Ephraim

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

February 14, 2018



          KENNETH M. CRISLIP, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          RACHEL A. KOPEC, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DEAN S. HOOVER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.


          CARR, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant Frederick Ephraim ("Husband") appeals from the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division. This Court affirms.


         {¶2} Husband married Kathryn O'Hara ("Wife") on August 22, 2008. Husband and Wife were married in Maryland but moved multiple times based upon Husband's employment. Two children were born of the marriage, J.E. (d.o.b. August 24, 2010) and A.E. (d.o.b. January 9, 2013). In August 2013, Wife filed a complaint for divorce. Husband answered and filed a counterclaim, also seeking a divorce. At the time of the filing of the complaint, Wife had been living in Ohio since late 2012 and Husband was living in Maryland. At the time of the hearing, Husband and Wife had been living separate and apart for a year without cohabitation.

         {¶3} Ultimately, the matter proceeded to a hearing before a magistrate. On December 16, 2015, the magistrate issued a lengthy decision, granting the parties a divorce, which was adopted by the trial court the same day. The magistrate noted that both children suffered from health issues. J.E. was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, cognitive delays, physical delays, failure to thrive, seizures, severe expressive disorder, mild to severe receptive disorder, eating issues, and sleep disturbances. There was also testimony that J.E. was autistic and had severe behavioral problems. A.E. experienced gastrointestinal issues, failure to thrive, and delayed milestones. The entry stated that Wife was unable to work due to the disabilities of the two children and the around-the-clock care that they required. Additionally, the court found that the children were "unable to support themselves because of mental and physical disabilities to the extent of being incapable of maintaining themselves." See Castle v. Castle, 15 Ohio St.3d 279 (1984); Ulery v. Ulery, 86 Ohio App.3d 290 (9th Dist.1993). Wife was named the residential parent and legal custodian of the children and Husband was granted parenting time with the children.

         {¶4} Husband's income was found to be $103, 190.58 and Wife's was $0 for purposes of child support and spousal support. Husband was ordered to pay respite care and was ordered to pay child support in the amount of $2, 497.33 per month, plus a processing charge. The trial court found that the amount of child support was in the best interests of the children based upon several factors in R.C. 3119.23. The entry also included a finding that child support would extend beyond the children's eighteenth birthdays. Wife was required to pay the first $100 per year towards each child's uninsured or unreimbursed health care costs. Costs above that amount were apportioned equally between Husband and Wife, with credit to Husband for any cash medical support ordered for any month the children were not Medicaid recipients.

         {¶5} The trial court found, after considering the factors in R.C. 3105.18(C)(1), that continuing spousal support was appropriate and reasonable, and awarded Wife $615.33 in spousal support per month. However, the trial court also found that spousal support would be subject to further order of the court and reserved jurisdiction to make modifications under certain circumstances.

         {¶6} Husband filed three brief, general objections to the magistrate's decision and indicated that he would supplement them following the filing of the transcript. Several months later, Wife filed a motion to dismiss Husband's objections. In the motion, Wife noted that, since the filing of objections, Husband had switched attorneys a couple of times, and that, as of the filing of her motion, the transcript had still not been filed. Additionally, Wife pointed to issues with the timing of the filing of the praecipe and the deposit. From the record, it appears that there may have been a hearing on the motion, although that is unclear because there is no ruling on the motion in our record, nor is there a transcript of that hearing. Nonetheless, on December 15, 2016, the trial court issued an entry stating that the matter was before it on the objections of Husband filed December 22, 2015. The court stated that it had "reviewed the docket, the pleadings and transcript[, ]" adopted the decision of the magistrate, and overruled the objections.

         {¶7} Husband has appealed, raising three assignments of ...

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