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In these post-divorce proceedings, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order as modified and vacated the awards of $2,500 in expert witness fees and $117 in overnight camp expenses and modified the order awarding $1,276 in childcare expenses and $3,500 in attorney fees, holding that the court erred in awarding expert witness fees and in concluding that overnight camps constituted daycare expenses. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the district court (1) did not err in ruling that extracurricular activity costs constituted daycare expenses that Father was required to reimburse Mother for, with the exception of the court’s apportionment of the costs of overnight camps, which must be vacated as an abuse of discretion; (2) did not abuse its discretion in awarding Mother attorney fees; and (3) erred in awarding expert witness fees without finding exceptional circumstances warranting the stipulation entered into between the parties that they would each pay the fees of their respective experts. View "Moore v. Moore" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's order that affirmed a family court order denying the petition for modification filed by Mother seeking to relocate with her children to Kentucky, holding that the lower courts did not properly apply the provisions of W. Va. Code 48-9-403 when denying Mother’s petition to relocate with her children. The family court denied Mother’s request for relocation, and the circuit court upheld the denial. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for entry of an order granting Mother’s petition for modification and establishing a new parenting plan, holding (1) the lower courts committed reversible error when they failed to consider evidence of caretaking functions when calculating custodial responsibility; and (2) because the unrebutted evidence showed that Mother’s relocation was legitimate and in good faith, the lower courts clearly erred in denying Mother’s request. View "Nicole L. v. Steven W." on Justia Law

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In this negligence case, the Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying the motion to dismiss filed by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources petitioners (DHHR Petitioners), holding that the DHHR Petitioners were entitled to qualified immunity. Respondents filed a complaint against the DHHR alleging that the DHHR negligently failed and refused to pursue subsidized guardianship for the infant in this case and negligently failed to take appropriate action in the best interest of that infant to obtain permanency and a final disposition. Respondents further alleged that, due to the DHHR’s failure, they were forced to hire counsel and file a petition for guardianship and that the infant was unjustly denied a monthly subsidy for ten years due to the actions of the DHHR Petitioners. The circuit court denied the DHHR Petitioners’ motion to dismiss, finding that qualified immunity did not bar Respondents’ claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that no basis for piercing the DHHR Petitioners’ qualified immunity existed. View "West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources v. V.P." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child, S.C.L., holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Mother did not overcome the presumption that termination was in S.C.L.’s interests or in terminating Mother’s parental rights to S.C.L. On appeal, Mother conceded that she did not comply with the approved treatment plan but argued that the conduct or condition rendering her unfit was likely to change without a reasonable time. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the district court’s consideration of Mother’s history and her inability to care for her older children did not violate Mont. R. Evid. 404(b); (2) overwhelming evidence supported the district court’s determination that the conduct or condition rendering Mother unfit, unwilling, or unable to parent was unlikely to change within a reasonable time; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it found that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in S.C.L.’s best interests. View "In re S.C.L." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s and Father’s parental rights to J.D., holding that although the district court abused its discretion by issuing a subpoena for privileged communication between Father and his therapist and by allowing certain cross-examination, the errors were harmless. At issue on appeal was whether the district court abused its discretion in granting a court appointed special advocate (CASA) a subpoena to review notes from Father’s therapist and in allowing the CASA to question witnesses at the termination of the parental rights hearing. The Supreme Court held that the district court did abuse its discretion as to these issues, but because the record supported the district court’s decision to terminate the parents’ parental rights without reference to the material that should have been excluded, the district court’s decision did not warrant reversal. View "In re J.D." on Justia Law

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This case involved a divorced, elderly couple who each requested a restraining order against the other. The trial court granted both requests and ex-husband appealed. The court affirmed and held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) against ex-husband, because there was substantial evidence of his past acts toward ex-wife, which constituted threatening and harassing behavior; "dwelling" in Welfare and Institutions Code 15657.03, subdivision (b)(4)(B), encompasses the residence, i.e., apartment unit of the protected person, and not the entire apartment building; the trial court's issuance of the DVRO and elder abuse restraining order (EARO) did not amount to mutual restraining orders that required specific findings of fact; and, although ex-wife's attachment of a confidential custody evaluation report to her appellate belief was sanctionable conduct, the court refrained from imposing sanctions as it would create an unreasonable financial burden on her. View "Herriott v. Herriott" on Justia Law

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Although the trial court acknowledged Respondent Irene Sweeney would receive substantial income from her share of an investment account, it granted her alimony. The court of appeals affirmed, noting the family court extensively analyzed the statutory factors governing alimony. The issue for the South Carolina Supreme Court’s resolution centered on whether the family court adequately considered the projected growth of a party's liquid assets apportioned through equitable division in awarding alimony. The Supreme Court affirmed the family court’s judgment, taking the opportunity to clarify that in determining alimony, family courts should consider the effect of investment income on both parties. View "Sweeney v. Sweeney" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing the complaint of Appellant for a writ of prohibition or mandamus seeking a writ requiring dismissal of an adoption proceeding concerning his biological child, holding that the complaint was properly dismissed. The adoption case was probate in the probate division of the court of common pleas. Appellee in this action was the judge of that court. In his complaint, Appellant argued that because an adoption cannot be granted under Ohio Rev. Code 3107.06 without the biological father’s consent, he deprived the probate court of jurisdiction by withholding his consent to the adoption. The court of appeals dismissed the prohibition claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because the probate court clearly possessed jurisdiction to determine whether Appellant’s consent was required and because Appellant could appeal any adverse judgment, the court of appeals correctly dismissed the prohibition claim; and (2) mandamus was not proper because Appellant had no legal right to such a dismissal, nor did the common pleas court judge have any legal duty to grant it. View "State ex rel. Roush v. Montgomery" on Justia Law

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Appellant C.T. (Mother) appealed an order changing primary physical custody of her minor son, A.B. to A.B.’s father, respondent R.B. (Father), in Arkansas. A.B. lived with Mother since his birth in 2006; Mother and Father separated in 2007. The trial court entered a final child custody order in 2010, with Mother’s home ordered A.B.’s primary residence. In 2011, Father moved from California to Arkansas and lived with his parents. In 2017, Mother and Father both requested sole physical custody of A.B. Mother contended Father failed to meet his burden of establishing that moving A.B. to Arkansas would not cause detriment to A.B., and that the change in physical custody was in A.B.’s best interests. After review of the specific facts of this case, the Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the child custody order awarding Father primary physical custody. View "In re the Marriage of C.T. and R.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order terminating Mother’s custodial rights but leaving intact her parental rights, holding that the circuit court’s account of the evidence was plausible in light of the record viewed in its entirety. Father was granted sole custody of the minor child in this case. Thereafter, the circuit court terminated the custodial rights of Mother but left intact Mother’s parental rights to the child. On appeal, Father argued that Mother’s parental rights should have been terminated based on the circuit court’s factual findings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no reason to disturb the circuit court’s dispositional ruling. View "In re B.S." on Justia Law