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Roush v. Roush

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

November 21, 2019

Allison Roush, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
William Roush, Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Division of Domestic Relations (C.P.C. No. 13DR-1497)

         On brief:

          Eugene R. Butler; McKinlay Law Offices, LLC, and Amy M. McKinlay, for appellee.

          The Tyack Law Firm Co. LPA, and Thomas M. Tyack, for appellant.

         Argued:

          Kerry Hagerman-Froelich.

          Thomas M. Tyack.

          DECISION

          NELSON, J.

         {¶ 1} The parties in this case divorced almost five years ago. They still seem unable to resolve even relatively minor differences, a circumstance that can be especially sad in the parental context. This appeal involves the timing of a credit that ex-husband William Roush has been accorded for a child support overpayment amounting to something on the order of $2, 000 (although the parties don't quite agree as to the precise sum involved).

         {¶ 2} The domestic relations judge who has been assisting the parties in the litigious unwinding of their marriage denied, as not in the best interest of the parties' unemancipated son, William Roush's motion to "impound" child support funds now, on the view that "William will be refunded his nominal overpayment of child support * * * at the time the parties' second child emancipates[] and William's child support obligation is terminated earlier to account for said overpayment." March 27, 2019 Decision and Entry at 3. Noting that "William owes $300, 000 - $400, 000 to Allison [Clark, formerly known as Roush] in a retirement division that is still pending," and that Mr. Roush's motion, "though permissible, could have been avoided and attorney fees reduced or minimized," the trial court awarded Ms. Clark $1, 000 in attorney fees incurred for defending against the failed motion temporarily to cease support. Id. at 4-5.

         {¶ 3} The trial court's decision provides the necessary background. "After protracted and contentious litigation largely attributable to William's actions, the parties' marriage was terminated" by decree in 2015. Id. at 1. Under that decree, Mr. Roush was to pay Ms. Clark $300 per month in spousal support and $1, 305 in child support for the benefit of their two minor children, transfer to Ms. Clark 50 percent of the value of a specified IRA and (through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order) $374, 404 from his retirement fund, and make certain other payments. Id. at 1-2. After the trial court found Mr. Roush in contempt for having failed to make certain payments and the retirement fund transfer, it awarded further attorney fees to Ms. Clark. Id. at 2; see also Roush v. Roush, 10th Dist. No. 15AP-1071, 16AP-264, and 16AP-388, 2017-Ohio-840) (affirming decree and contempt finding with related fee award). "William's propensity for litigation and failure to abide by court orders precipitated the Court to appoint a Receiver * * *." March 27, 2019 Decision and Entry at 2.

         {¶ 4} As that decision further recites, the Roush's older son turned 18 and was emancipated in July 2018. Id. That event had the effect of reducing Mr. Roush's child support obligations, but his employer "did not immediately implement the new withholding order and Allison received an overpayment of child support" amounting, as the trial court read the parties' various submissions, to something just over $1, 700 as of February or March 2019. Id. at 2-3 (relating to the months of October - December 2018).

         {¶ 5} Mr. Roush's February 5, 2019 Motion to Impound Funds requested the impoundment of $2, 299.26 claimed to have been overpaid as of that date. His motion attached a chain of purported e-mail correspondence between Mr. Roush and someone he characterized as a "representative of the Child Support Enforcement Agency," who told him (in the second to last message appended, dated January 31, 2019 at 12:21:49 p.m., with emphasis added by us) that:

The typical thing to do in these situations is terminate the order a little early but I know you were against doing that when we met last so filing with the court is ...

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