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In re Marriage of Davis

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 23, 2017

In the Matter of the Marriage of Melissa May DAVIS, fka Melissa May Reynolds, Petitioner-Appellant, and Clement Pierre LALLEMENT, Respondent-Respondent, and Nadjalisse Claire REYNOLDS-LALLEMENT, Child 18 years of age or older but under 21 years of age.

          Argued and submitted March 21, 2016

         Clackamas County Circuit Court DR10100330 Susie L. Norby, Judge.

          Philip F. Schuster, II, argued the cause and fled the briefs for appellant.

          Peter Bunch argued the cause and fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Lagesen, Judge, and Wollheim, Senior Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Wife appeals the trial court's supplemental judgment granting husband's motion to modify spousal support. The court concluded that there was a substantial change in wife's economic circumstances and terminated husband's spousal-support and life-insurance obligations. On appeal, wife argues that the court erred by determining that she had access to her new husband's gross monthly income and by failing to make an express finding that termination of the spousal support award was just and equitable under the circumstances. Held: The trial court's factual findings regarding wife's access to her new husband's income are unsupported by the record. Accordingly, it cannot be determined whether wife's remarriage constituted a substantial change to her economic circumstances.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [287 Or. 324] ORTEGA, P. J.

         Wife appeals the trial court's supplemental judgment granting husband's motion to modify spousal support. The court concluded that there was a substantial change in wife's economic circumstances and terminated husband's spousal support and life insurance obligations. Because we conclude that the court's factual findings regarding wife's access to her new husband's income are unsupported by the record, leaving us unable to determine whether wife's remarriage constituted a substantial change to her economic circumstances, we reverse and remand.

         We decline to exercise our discretion to review de novo as wife requests because she has not demonstrated that this is an "exceptional case" warranting such review. See ORS 19.415(3); ORAP 5.40(8)(c). Accordingly, we recount the facts "consistently with the trial court's express and implied findings, supplemented with uncontroverted information from the record." Tilson and Tilson, 260 Or.App. 427, 428, 317 P.3d 391 (2013) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         The parties were married for 20 years and have two children together. They divorced in 2011. As part of the dissolution judgment, the court awarded wife $2, 000 per month in indefinite maintenance spousal support. The purpose of that initial award was to maintain wife's upper middle class standard of living, which the court concluded she could not maintain on her own. Wife is permanently disabled and received social security benefits in the amount of $1, 131 per month at the time of dissolution. Husband, in contrast, made $10, 025 per month.

         In 2014, wife remarried. Before her remarriage, wife and her new husband, Davis, who had two children of his own from a prior marriage, signed a prenuptial agreement with the intent of defining "the respective responsibilities that each [would] have regarding their payment of separate and joint expenses during the marriage." After wife's remarriage, husband then moved, in relevant part, to terminate or reduce the spousal support award. He argued that there had been a change in wife's circumstances and that she now had sufficient income support from Davis to [287 Or. 325] eliminate the need for spousal support. By that time, wife's disability payments had slightly increased to $1, 209, and her and husband's older daughter was in college and no longer living at home full time.

         The court held a hearing on husband's motion where it heard testimony from the parties, as well as Davis.[1] At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial ...


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