Eorio v. Eorio, No. 83132, Order Affirming in Part, Reversing in Part and Remanding (Unpublished Disposition, Apr. 15, 2022)
Lisa Eorio and Joel Eorio were married and had three children. They lived together in New Mexico until 2019, when Lisa accepted a job offer and moved to Las Vegas while Joel remained in New Mexico with the children to finish the school year. After moving to Las Vegas with the children, he filed a complaint for divorce and sought primary physical custody and permission to relocate back to New Mexico, citing NRS 125C.0065(1). The parties stipulated that they would share joint physical custody if they lived in the same state; that Joel would receive primary physical custody if the court granted relocation and Lisa would receive substantial parenting time in Nevada; and that Lisa would receive primary physical custody if the court denied relocation. The district court found that since Joel satisfied all three of the NRS 125C.007(1)’s threshold provisions, he would be granted primary physical custody and be able to relocate with the children. Lisa appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion because Joel did not show that relocation would be in the children’s best interests, and that the court failed to make specific findings to prove as much.
The Court of Appeals agreed in part with Lisa, and reversed and remanded. The burden was on the relocating parent, and the court was required to issue specific findings for each provision under NRS 125C.007(1) and then tie those findings to the decision made. The district court failed to find that it was in the best interests of the children by a preponderance of the evidence, and never made a determination in the divorce decree itself that relocation was in the children’s best interests. According to the transcript of the proceedings, none of the factors disqualified either Joel or Lisa from joint physical custody, yet the district court determined that Joel met his burden for the purpose of relocation even though the best interest factors were neutral or inapplicable. Thus, the district court had not properly exercised its discretion.
Ghibaudo v. Kellogg-Ghibaudo, No. 82248, Order of Affirmance (Unpublished Disposition, Apr. 21, 2022)
Alex Ghibaudo and Tara Kellogg-Ghibaudo entered into divorce proceedings in 2015. In 2016, they attended a settlement conference where they stipulated to terms of a legal separation, and agreed to try to reconcile without a divorce. Because they were unable to reconcile, Tara sought the entry of a decree of divorce incorporating the terms they agreed to at the settlement conference. Alex objected, but the district court entered this decree in 2017, and Alex was ordered to pay Tara family support in the amount of either $2,500 per month or 50% of his gross monthly income, whichever was greater, for 15 years. Upon Tara obtaining full-time employment, the obligation would be calculated as to 50% of the difference between the parties’ gross monthly incomes, or $2,500, whichever was greater.
Alex moved to modify spousal support, claiming that he did not agree to the terms entered into the decree of divorce, that the district court violated his due process rights by failing to hold an evidentiary hearing, and that the spousal support provision were void. He claimed that there had been a change in circumstances warranting modification of the decree, and that Tara should be estopped from enforcing the spousal support provisions because she failed to obtain full-time employment. The district court agreed the terms were modifiable, imputed $2,000 to Tara based on a finding of willful underemployment, and ultimately ordered Alex to pay $2,500 per month in spousal support for the remainder of the initial 15-year term. He appealed, asserting that the district court erred by relying on the decree of divorce. Tara cross-appealed, asserting that the district court abused its discretion by modifying the spousal support provision that was based on a settlement agreement, and that it abused its discretion in imputing income to her.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment. It found that the decree of divorce did not provide that the parties’ agreement arising out of the settlement conference would survive the decree; the decree indicated that the terms were a full and final agreement, and that modification may be possible only through written agreement between the parties or by order of the court. Thus, both Alex’s and Tara’s arguments were without merit. The district court was correct to note that the decree of divorce was a final judgment, and Alex failed to timely appeal; thus, he could not challenge the validity of the final order. Furthermore, the decree of divorce did not require Tara to obtain full-time employment, and only provided how the family support obligation would be calculated should be obtain one. Thus, there was no abuse of discretion in declining to apply equitable estoppel or in its enforcement of the decree. Finally, because the district court considered Tara’s evidence and her arguments before making its determinations, the Court refused to reweigh witness credibility or the weight of the evidence on appeal. There was no abuse of discretion on any count.