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Polete v. Polete

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

July 26, 2019

CARRIE E. POLETE Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
SEAN P. POLETE Defendant-Appellant

          Trial 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 Plaintiff-Appellee

          SEAN P. POLETE, Defendant-Appellant, Pro Se

          OPINION

          TUCKER, J.

         {¶ 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 affirmed.

         I. 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 5, 2018.

         {¶ 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.

         II. Temporary Spousal and Child Support Orders

         {¶ 7} Mr. Polete's first and second assignments of ...


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