Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
CARRIE E. POLETE Plaintiff-Appellee
SEAN P. POLETE Defendant-Appellant
Court Case No. 2016-DR-1127 (Domestic Relations Appeal)
JENNIFER L. BROGAN, Atty. Reg. No. 0075558 and JUSTINE Z.
LARSEN, Atty. Reg. No. 0095525, Attorneys for
P. POLETE, Defendant-Appellant, Pro Se
1} Defendant-appellant Sean Polete appeals pro se
from a judgment finding him in contempt of court for failing
to comply with a temporary order of spousal support as well
as an order requiring him to submit to and pay for a
vocational assessment. Mr. Polete contends that the trial
court erred with regard to the amount of temporary child and
spousal support it ordered him to pay while the parties'
divorce was pending. He also contends that the trial court
abused its discretion by finding him in contempt as he
presented evidence of his inability to pay the temporary
spousal support or to pay for the vocational assessment. For
the reasons that follow, the judgment of the trial court is
Facts and Procedural Background
2} Sean and Carrie Polete were married in 1997. They
have three children as a result of their union. Ms. Polete
filed a complaint for divorce in December 2016. At that time,
two of the children were minors. Ms. Polete was unemployed
when she filed for divorce, but she became employed in May
2017 earning approximately $35, 000 per year. In 2016, Mr.
Polete was employed and earning $130, 000. He also received
yearly retirement benefits from the United States Navy in the
sum of $52, 404 and Veteran's Administration benefits of
$24, 876 per year. In December 2017, Mr. Polete's
employment was reduced from full-time to approximately 10 to
13 hours per week.
3} On May 2, 2017, the parties executed an agreed
order which provided, in pertinent part, that Mr. Polete
would pay temporary spousal support of "$1, 000 per
month on the 1st day of each month beginning May 1, 2017 to
assist [Ms. Polete] in her residential lease payment"
pending a hearing by the trial court on the issue of
temporary support. Dkt. No. 42. A full hearing was conducted
on August 1, 2017, following which the magistrate increased
the temporary spousal support order to $2, 000 per month. The
magistrate's order also required Mr. Polete to pay
monthly child support of $578 per child. Mr. Polete filed
objections, which were overruled by the trial court on June
4} On January 20, 2018, the trial court entered an
order requiring Mr. Polete to submit to a vocational
assessment. The order further required Mr. Polete to
"fully cooperate in providing all records"
requested by the individual performing the assessment and to
pay for the cost of the assessment.
5} In May 2018, Ms. Polete filed a motion to show
cause seeking to hold Mr. Polete in contempt for failing to
pay spousal support as agreed in the May 2017 agreed order
and for failing to pay for and cooperate with the vocational
assessment. A hearing was conducted on July 19, 2018.
Following the hearing, the magistrate found Mr. Polete in
contempt. Mr. Polete filed objections; the trial court
overruled the objections and adopted the magistrate's
decision, with minor modifications.
6} Mr. Polete appeals.
Temporary Spousal and Child Support Orders
7} Mr. Polete's first and second assignments of