FAMILY LAW, FAXING DOCUMENTS: GOLDSMITH V. BENNETT-GOLDSMITH (COA 5/4/07)

GOLDSMITH V. BENNETT-GOLDSMITH
FAMILY LAW:  Faxing documents to court; Support (no material change found)
CIVIL PROCEDURE: Fax used to file discovery with court
2006-CA-001680
PUBLISHED:  AFFIRMING (THOMPSON)
DATE RENDERED: 5/4/2007

CA affirms denial of motions to strike evidence and to reduce child support. (Jeff. Cir. Ct., Hon. Kevin L. Garvey, Judge, presiding).

Appellant and appellee are divorced with one child born of their former marriage. Appellant, ordered to pay $676/month in child support in 2002, had accumulated $2,472 in arrears over the years while paying over $4,000 toward consumer debt. Appellant was held in contempt and ordered jailed one day for every day he remained in arrears. His parents paid his arrearage. As time passed, however, similar proceedings continued. in 2006, Appellant filed a motion to reduce his child support obligation. Appellee filed a response and a discovery order was entered, noting that either party’s failure to comply would result in severe sanctions. Appellee mailed her discovery responses to Appellant at 9:55 a.m. on the last day to comply and had faxed the responses to the court at 1:32 a.m. Appellant also sent his responses before the expiration of the deadline and both parties received the other’s information before the hearing. However, on the day of the hearing, Appellant filed a motion to strike appellee’s evidence (including her responses) for failure to comply with the court’s order and CRs 12.06 and 5.03. After hearing, the judge denied the motions to strike and to reduce child support.

Appellant appeals, arguing that appellee’s use of the fax is not an acceptable method for filing, and her documents should have been stricken, and she should have been precluded from presenting any evidence. CA agrees that appellee complied with the discovery order.

As to the merits of Appellant’s motion for child support reduction, he claims he no longer owns rental properties that once netted him income; and that the court failed to consider his mental illness (bipolar). The TC found no material change to warrant a reduction under the statute; CA agrees that Appellant did not meet his burden of showing material change in that he provided no explanation as to how the rental properties he claims he no longer owns were disposed of.

Digested by John Hamlet

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