CHARLENE M. MCDERMENT Appellee
SHAWN D. MCDERMENT Appellant
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 15DU080395
BRADLEY, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BRANDON G. OLIVER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. TEODOSIO JUDGE
Shawn D. McDerment appeals the decision of the Lorain County
Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, modifying
child support and holding Mr. McDerment in contempt. We
affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.
In 2015, Charlene M. McDerment filed a complaint for divorce
from Mr. McDerment, with a decree of divorce having been
entered on September 26, 2016. At the time of their divorce,
the couple had two minor children together. Multiple
post-decree motions were filed by the parties, and a hearing
was scheduled for November 21, 2017, on Ms. McDerment's
motion to show cause, amended motion to show cause, and
motion to modify child support. A second day of hearing was
held in February 2018, and a third day in May 2018. On June
22, 2018, the trial court entered judgment modifying the
child support to be paid by Mr. McDerment and holding him in
Mr. McDerment now appeals, raising five assignments of error,
which have been reordered for the purpose of our analysis.
OF ERROR ONE
TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION BY DENYING APPELLANT'S
REQUEST FOR A CONTINUANCE.
OF ERROR FIVE
TRIAL COURT ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT PERMITTED
COUNSEL TO WITHDRAW FOLLOWING THE COMMENCEMENT OF TRIAL.
In his first assignment of error, Mr. McDerment argues the
trial court erred in denying his request for a continuance.
In his fifth assignment of error, Mr. McDerment argues the
trial court erred when it allowed his attorney to withdraw
after trial had commenced. We disagree with both arguments.
On November 21, 2017, an evidentiary hearing commenced on Ms.
McDerment's motion to show cause, amended motion to show
cause, and motion to modify child support. Due to a family
emergency for Ms. McDerment's attorney, the hearing did
not commence after breaking for lunch and was continued to
February 13, 2018.
On January 25, 2018, Mr. McDerment's attorney, Jeffrey S.
Brown, filed a motion to withdraw as counsel. A hearing on
the motion to withdraw was conducted on February 5, 2018,
with Mr. McDerment agreeing that there had been a breakdown
in communication and stating that he would "[p]robably
retain new counsel, somebody who can actually do the job
properly." The same day, a magistrate's order was
entered granting the motion, noting that Mr. McDerment and
Mr. Brown were in agreement that there had been a breakdown
in communication and that Mr. McDerment indicated he would be
retaining new counsel. The order further noted that Mr.
McDerment was made aware that his new counsel would need to
be prepared to proceed with the evidentiary hearing on
February 13, 2018.
On February 12, 2018, Attorney Nancy Bish Robison filed a
notice of appearance on behalf of Mr. McDerment, and on
February 13, the second day of the evidentiary hearing began
with Ms. Robison representing Mr. McDerment. A third day of
hearing was subsequently set for March 5, 2018
Ms. Bish Robison filed a motion for leave to withdraw as
counsel on March 1, 2018, stating that Mr. McDerment had
failed to keep promises to pay attorney fees and costs, had
not returned phone calls, and had not been in communication
as requested to assist in preparation for the March 5, 2018,
evidentiary hearing. She further stated that her health was
being adversely affected due to the stress of the situation.
At the March 5 hearing, and with the agreement of Mr.
McDerment, the trial court granted Ms. Bish Robison's
motion to withdraw. The hearing was subsequently continued to
May 15, 2018.
Four days prior to the May 2018 hearing, an attorney
contacted the trial court by e-mail, indicating that she
would be willing to represent Mr. McDerment, but had a
conflict with the May 15, 2018, hearing date. No notice of
appearance or motion was filed. The trial court stated it
would not be inclined to grant a continuance at such a late
date. On the day of the hearing, Mr. ...