FAMILY LAW – Contempt, sale of marital property: Crowder v. Rearden (COA 10/02/2009)

Crowder v. Rearden
2007-CA-002604 10/02/09 2009 WL 3231360
Opinion by Judge Nickell; Judge Lambert and Senior Judge Henry concurred.

The Court affirmed orders of the family court finding appellant in contempt for her failure to cooperate with the sale of a marital residence and for her failure to pay her portion of the mortgage and denying a motion to alter, amend or vacate the order. The Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding appellant in contempt and imposing a jail sentence for her failure to obey multiple directives. Appellant was found in contempt, was warned additional sanctions could be imposed, and was given the opportunity to purge herself of contempt, which she did not do. The Court also held that appellant could not successfully assert a defense of impossibility when she failed to appeal the determination of her portion of the mortgage, she failed to offer any proof of change in circumstances, and she abandoned the home without making any provision to secure or maintain it. The Court finally rejected appellant’s argument that appellee was required to mitigate his damages so that appellant should not be held accountable for destroying appellee’s credit rating and for not paying her share of the mortgage.

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