Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Moore v. Moore

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

April 3, 2019

Lee B. Moore, Respondent/Appellant,
v.
Debra L. Moore, Appellant/Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2016-000531

          Heard October 9, 2018

          Appeal From Greenville County Tarita A. Dunbar, Family Court Judge

          J. Falkner Wilkes, of Greenville, for Appellant/ Respondent.

          Elizabeth Kimberly Berry, of Mooneyham Berry LLC, of Greenville, for Respondent/Appellant.

          SHORT, J.

         In this divorce action involving cross-appeals, Debra Moore (Wife) appeals, arguing the family court erred in reducing the amount of her alimony. Lee Moore (Husband) also appeals, arguing the family court erred in (1) not sufficiently reducing his alimony obligation and (2) finding Husband presented no evidence to support his claim that Wife cohabitated for 90 consecutive days with her boyfriend and any periods of separation were intended to circumvent the 90-day rule. Both parties argue the court erred in awarding attorney's fees. We reverse and remand.

         FACTS

         Husband and Wife were divorced on July 15, 2003. Husband was ordered to pay Wife $3, 800 per month in permanent periodic alimony. The parties agreed the amount of alimony was determined "by the circumstances of Husband having a gross yearly income of approximately $150, 000" and allowed Wife "the right to earn up to $28, 000 per year from employment without same being a change of circumstances as to her independent income status as affecting the issue of alimony."

         On July 7, 2009, Husband filed an action seeking elimination or reduction of alimony. Husband stated he had changed jobs and was earning $130, 000, which was comprised of a guaranteed base salary of $80, 000 and commissions that were not guaranteed. Wife earned $20, 789 in 2010. The parties reached an agreement to reduce Husband's alimony to $3, 250 per month, beginning February 2011.

         On July 29, 2013, Husband filed a second action seeking elimination or reduction of alimony. His request was based on a reduction in his income and Wife's continued cohabitation with a man she was romantically involved with. Husband asserted his current employment enabled him to earn up to $80, 000 per year. Wife asserted Husband was changing jobs for lower pay to avoid paying his alimony obligations. After a temporary hearing, the court found there had been a substantial change in Husband's circumstances that warranted reducing his alimony payments to $2, 000 per month, beginning August 2013. A hearing was held April 1-2 and June 17, 2015. The court issued its final order on September 22, 2015. The court declined to terminate Husband's alimony obligation, but it reduced Husband's alimony obligation to $2, 275. The court also ordered Husband to pay $10, 000 of Wife's attorney's fees.

         In October 2015, Wife and Husband filed separate motions to alter or amend the September 22, 2015 judgment. A hearing on the motions was held on November 30, 2015. The court issued its order on January 20, 2016, amending the September 22, 2015 order. In its order, the court further reduced Husband's alimony obligation to $1, 800 per month. On February 9, 2016, the court issued a corrective order regarding the January 20, 2016 order. These appeals followed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         On appeal from the family court, this court reviews factual and legal issues de novo. Stoney v. Stoney, 422 S.C. 593, 594, 813 S.E.2d 486, 486 (2018); Lewis v. Lewis, 392 S.C. 381, 386, 709 S.E.2d 650, 652 (2011). Although this court reviews the family court's findings de novo, we are not required to ignore the fact that the family court, which saw and heard the witnesses, was in a better position to evaluate their credibility and assign comparative weight to their testimony. Stoney, 422 S.C. at 595, 813 S.E.2d at 487; Lewis, 392 S.C. at 384-85, 709 S.E.2d at 651-52. "[D]e novo standard of review does not relieve an appellant from demonstrating error in the [family] court's findings of fact." Lewis, 392 S.C. at 385, 709 S.E.2d at 652 (italics omitted). Thus, "the family court's factual findings will be affirmed unless [the] 'appellant satisfies this court that the preponderance of the evidence is against the finding of the [family] court.'" Id. at 392, 709 S.E.2d at 655 (quoting Finley v. Cartwright, 55 S.C. 198, 202, 33 S.E. 359, 360-61 (1899)).

         LA ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.