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Choi v. Choi

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

February 28, 2018

MIEHYUN CLAIRE CHOI Appellee
v.
PETER CHOI Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DR-2015-10-2939

          THOMAS T. MULLEN, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          RANDAL A. LOWRY, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          KENNETH L. GIBSON, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          LYNNE S. CALLAHAN JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, Peter Choi ("Husband"), appeals the judgment of the Summit County Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Division. For the reasons set forth below, this Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Husband and Appellee, Miehyun Claire Choi ("Wife"), were married in 1978. They have three adult children as a result of the marriage. Husband is a licensed dentist. However, due to his age, 64 years, and declining health, he is unemployed. Wife is 62 years of age and works as a nurse anesthetist. During their 38 years of marriage, the parties acquired a marital home, numerous automobiles, significant retirement assets, and funds in savings and checking accounts.

         {¶3} In October 2015, Wife filed for divorce, and Husband counterclaimed for the same. The parties litigated several issues at the final divorce hearing, including spousal support and division of marital property. At the divorce hearing, Husband alleged Wife voluntarily reduced her income and improperly disposed of marital assets. Wife alleged Husband violated the trial court's order regarding listing the marital home for sale and refraining from making disparaging comments about Wife.

         {¶4} The trial court issued a Judgment Entry Decree of Divorce, thereby terminating the marriage. Relevant to this appeal, the divorce decree ordered Wife to pay spousal support of $2, 100.00 per month for 5 years. As to the marital property, the retirement accounts were divided equally, while the savings accounts, checking accounts, automobiles, and health saving account remained with the respective owner.

         {¶5} Both Husband and Wife timely appealed. Wife filed a Civ.R. 60(A) motion and motion for limited remand. Upon remand, the trial court granted Wife's Civ.R. 60(A) motion and issued a nunc pro tunc Judgment Entry which corrected Wife's maiden name and the grounds upon which the spousal support shall terminate. In light of the nunc pro tunc Judgment Entry, Wife moved and was granted a dismissal of her appeal. Only Husband's appeal remains, with two assignments of error before this Court for consideration.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 1

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ITS FEBRUARY 9, 2017 JUDGMENT ENTRY DECREE OF DIVORCE WHEN IT ORDER[ED] SPOUSAL SUPPORT IN THE AMOUNT OF $2, 100.00 PER MONTH BY FAILING TO CONSIDER [WIFE'S] VOLUNTARY REDUCTION OF EMPLOYMENT AND FINANCIAL MISCONDUCT.

         {¶6} In his first assignment of error, Husband argues that the trial court failed to consider Wife's voluntary reduction of employment and financial misconduct when determining the spousal support award. This Court disagrees.

          {¶7} Initially, this Court notes that Husband did not identify what actions constituted Wife's "financial misconduct" and this Court will not presume that "financial misconduct" and "voluntary reduction of employment" are one and the same. See App.R. 16(A)(7). Nor did Husband develop any argument regarding Wife's financial misconduct relative to the spousal support award. See id. Because Husband failed to make any argument in support of this issue, this Court declines to create one for him. Cardone v. Cardone, 9th Dist. Summit Nos. 18349, 18673, 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 2028, *22 (May 6, 1998). ("If an argument exists that can support this assignment of error, it is not this court's duty to root it out."). Accordingly, this Court confines its review to Husband's argument regarding Wife's voluntary underemployment in relation to the spousal support award.

         {¶8} "In divorce * * * proceedings, * * * the court of common pleas may award reasonable spousal support to either party." R.C. 3105.18(B). A trial court's decision regarding an award of spousal support is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Hirt v. Hirt, 9th Dist. Medina No. 03CA0110-M, 2004-Ohio-4318, ¶ 8. "A trial court will be found to have abused its discretion when its decision is contrary to law, unreasonable, not supported by evidence, or grossly unsound." (Citations and quotations marks omitted.) Tustin v. Tustin, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27164, 2015-Ohio-3454, ¶ 21.

         {¶9} "In determining whether spousal support is appropriate and reasonable, and in determining the nature, amount, * * * of spousal support * * *, the court shall consider all of the * * * factors" listed in R.C. 3105.18(C)(1)(a)-(n). R.C. 3105.18(C)(1). Those factors are as follows:

(a)The income of the parties, from all sources * * *;
(b)The relative earning abilities of the parties;
(c)The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;
(d)The retirement benefits of the parties;
(e)The duration of the marriage;
(f) The extent to which it would be inappropriate for a party, because that party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage, to seek employment outside the home;
(g)The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
(h) The relative extent of education of the parties;
(i) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties, including but not limited to any court-ordered ...

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