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Taylort v. Taylor

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 28, 2018

Calvin L. Taylor Defendant-Appellant,
v.
Nancy D. Taylor Plaintiff-Appellee.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 14DR-1977, Division of Domestic Relations

         On brief:

          Farlow and Associates, LLC, and Beverly J. Farlow, for appellant.

          Harry Lewis Co., LPA, and Gregg R. Lewis, for appellee.

         Argued:

          Gregg R. Lewis.

          DECISION

          TYACK, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Calvin L. Taylor ("Mr. Taylor"), appeals from a October 2, 2017 "Military Retired Pay Division Order" of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations. We affirm the trial court's order.

         {¶ 2} Mr. Taylor and appellee, Nancy D. Taylor ("Ms. Taylor"), were married on March 29, 1969 in Worthington, Ohio. There were two children born as issue of the marriage, both now emancipated. The parties were granted a divorce decree on June 29, 2016, and the trial court retained jurisdiction to sign any division of property order ("DOPO") or qualified domestic relation order ("QDRO") in accordance with the retirement accounts.

         {¶ 3} On October 2, 2017, the trial court issued a DOPO stating: "The Court hereby orders that the Former Spouse shall be treated as the Member's irrevocable beneficiary under the Survivor Benefit Plan ("SBP"), in accordance with the election made by the Member on his date of retirement." (Oct. 2, 2017 Military Retired Pay Division Order at ¶ 8.) Mr. Taylor filed a notice of appeal on October 30, 2017, arguing that the trial court erred in awarding the survivor benefits to Ms. Taylor.

         {¶ 4} Mr. Taylor lists one assignment of error for our consideration:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW IN ITS ISSUANCE OF THE DOPO ON OCTOBER 2, 2017, MODIFYING THE DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY DECREE OF DIVORCE.

         {¶ 5} When reviewing the propriety of a trial court's determination in a domestic relations case, an abuse of discretion standard is used. Booth v. Booth, 44 Ohio St.3d 142, 144 (1989). This is the standard in cases reviewing an order relating to alimony, see Blakemore v. Blakemore, 5 Ohio St.3d 217 (1983); a division of martial property, see Martin v. Martin, 18 Ohio St.3d 292 (1985); a custody proceeding, see Miller v. Miller, 37 Ohio St.3d 71 (1988); or child support, see Booth. "Since it is axiomatic that a trial court must have discretion to do what is equitable upon the facts and circumstances of each case, see Cherry v. Cherry (1981), 66 Ohio St.2d 348, 355, it necessarily follows that a trial court's decision in domestic relations matters should not be disturbed on appeal unless the decision involves more than an error of judgment." Booth at 144. "The term 'abuse of discretion' connotes more than an error of law or judgment; it implies that the court's attitude is unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable." Blakemore at 219.

         {¶ 6} Ms. Taylor argues that Mr. Taylor did not timely file his appeal, arguing that the final appealable order was the decree of divorce filed on June 29, 2016 and not the DOPO filed on October 2, 2017. We must initially determine whether we have subject-matter jurisdiction to consider the merits of this appeal. "Subject-matter jurisdiction may not be waived or bestowed upon a court by the parties to the case." Green v. Green, 10th Dist. No. 04AP-61, 2005-Ohio-851, ¶ 8, citing State ex rel. White v. Cuyahoga Metro. Hous. Auth., 79 Ohio St.3d 543, 544 (1997). R.C 2505.03 limits the ...


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