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Husband Ordered to Pay Ex-Wife for Harley


Case: Rhodes v. Rhodes

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )

Judges: Per Curiam - Murphy, Cavanagh, and Ronayne Krause

Issues:Divorce; Division of the marital estate; Sparks v. Sparks; McDougal v. McDougal; Jones v. Jones; The method & computation by which the trial court divided a Harley Davidson motorcycle; Harboring error as an appellate parachute; Marshall Lasser, PC v. George; Attorney fees; MCR 3.206(C); Woodington v. Shokoohi; Myland v. Myland; Loutts v. Loutts (After Remand); MCR 3.206(C)(2)(a) & (b); Whether the trial court committed clear legal error in failing to conduct the trial pursuant to MCR 2.507; Lansing v. Hartsuff; Whether the divorce judgment comported with the trial court’s ruling from the bench at the trial as mandated by MCR 2.602(B)(2)

Summary:The court affirmed the trial court’s rulings as to the disposition of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, the award of attorney fees to the defendant-ex-wife, and the denial of the plaintiff-ex-husband’s request for attorney fees. Further, it rejected his arguments that reversal was warranted as to “the unorthodox trial process” and as to whether the divorce judgment comported with the trial court’s rulings at the trial. Plaintiff argued that the trial court clearly erred when it awarded defendant $5,700 for her share of the Harley. He contended that the parties had an agreement as to the Harley, pursuant to which he would be awarded the Harley and defendant would be awarded $2,800, equaling half of the alleged marital equity ($5,600) in the motorcycle. While it appeared at the start of the trial that they had reached such an agreement, defense counsel seemed to back away from it later in the proceedings. Even had the parties agreed or stipulated to this, “the trial court was not bound by the agreement or stipulation.”

As to attorney fees, the court noted that defendant was only awarded about half of the fees she requested. Further, the trial court indicated that it was awarding her fees based on income disparity, and it noted that she was not receiving spousal support. The court added that the marital home was awarded to plaintiff. Under the circumstances, it found no clear error or abuse of discretion in the trial court’s decision. Further, the record did not support an award of attorney fees to plaintiff.

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