COA: Ex-husband entitled to legal fees for former wife’s contempt

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The ex-husband in an acrimonious domestic relations case is entitled to $9,000 in legal fees a trial court awarded to him as well as judgments in his favor on parenting time and child support, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

Both the former spouses had been sanctioned for contempt in In Re: The Marriage of: Meleeka Clary-Ghosh v. Michael Ghosh, 29A04-1406-DR-275, but the largest was against former wife Meleeka Clary-Ghosh for failing to pay school fees for their daughter and her ex-husband’s resulting legal fees.

“The fact that the multiple contempt petitions were addressed at a single hearing and in a single order does not preclude the trial court from awarding Michael attorney fees. The trial court clearly took into account Michael’s conduct when it crafted its attorney fee award and in fact, ordered him to pay a portion of Meleeka’s attorney fees. We cannot conclude the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered Meleeka to pay a portion of Michael’s attorney fees," Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the panel.

The appeals panel also affirmed the trial court’s modification of parenting time and child support and the denial of Clary-Ghosh’s request for appointment of a parenting time coordinator.

Barnes wrote that although Clary-Ghosh pointed out evidence showing that she and Ghosh did not get along, this fact alone is insufficient to establish that the trial court abused its discretion in denying her request for the appointment of a parenting time coordinator. “It was well within the trial court’s discretion to directly address the issues raised by the parties in an effort to reduce future litigation instead of appointing a parenting time coordinator. Meleeka has not established reversible error on this ground.”


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