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Marshall v. Marshall

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

November 21, 2014

Cedric A. Marshall
v.
Lisa Lashonda Marshall

Released for Publication July 22, 2015.

Page 53

Appeal from Monroe Circuit Court. (DR-12-900043). P. Ben McLauchlin, Jr., Trial Judge. [*]

AFFIRMED.

For Appellant: Anthony J. Bishop, Evergreen.

All the judges concur.

OPINION

Page 54

PER CURIAM.

Cedric A. Marshall (" the husband" ) appeals from a judgment of the Monroe Circuit Court (" the trial court" ) dissolving his marriage to Lisa Lashonda Marshall (" the wife" ) and challenges the provisions of that judgment awarding the wife (1) periodic alimony and (2) $7,000 as part of the division of the parties' property. We affirm.

In 2012, the wife sued the husband for a divorce, and the husband asserted a counterclaim for a divorce. Before trial, the parties reached an agreement regarding all issues except (1) whether the wife should be awarded periodic alimony and, if so, how much; (2) how the parties' property should be divided; and (3) how responsibility for the payment of their debts should be allocated. The trial court subsequently received evidence ore tenus regarding those issues at a bench trial.

The record indicates the following. The parties married in 1996 and have two minor

Page 55

children (" the children" ). In March 2012, the parties separated; the wife and the children moved from the parties' house (" the marital residence" ) to a house the wife had rented, while the husband continued to live in the marital residence.

The wife pays rent in the amount of $600 per month. Both parties testified that the value of the marital residence was approximately $136,000 and that it was subject to approximately $108,000 in mortgage indebtedness. The wife testified that the mortgage payments were $816 per month, while the husband testified that they were $830 per month. Aside from the marital residence, the only specific item of marital property identified in the record is a 2008 Nissan Altima automobile. The record does not indicate the value of any of the marital property except the marital residence.

The wife worked during the earlier part of the marriage but stopped in order to attend a technical college. She first earned an associate's degree in cosmetology and later earned an associate's degree in child care. For a period after she earned her cosmetology degree, she was a licensed cosmetologist; however, she testified that she had not maintained her cosmetologist's license and that she would have to complete courses in cosmetology and pass a test in order to reinstate that license. The wife earned her degree in child care shortly before she initiated the divorce action. At trial, on direct examination, she testified that, after earning her degree in child care, she had applied for work with several day-care facilities and a clothing company; however, on cross-examination, she testified that she had applied for work with the clothing company only. She testified that her being responsible for caring for the children had made it harder for her to find employment, while the husband testified that the wife's responsibility for caring for the children was no obstacle to her finding employment because, he said, he and his family could care for the children while the wife worked. The wife was unemployed when the action was tried.

The parties agreed that the wife would have primary physical custody of the children and that the husband would have visitation. The parties also agreed that, for purposes of determining the husband's child-support obligation, the husband's total gross income from all sources was $5,332 per month and that the wife should be imputed with the amount of income she could earn if she were employed and earning the federal minimum wage. The parties further agreed that the husband's child-support obligation under Rule 32, Ala. R. Jud. Admin., was $933 per month.

The husband's total gross income of $5,332 included disability benefits in the amount of $1,794 per month paid to him by the Department of Veteran's Affairs (" the VA" ) for what he characterized as a " mild grade" of post-traumatic stress disorder (" PTSD" ) caused by his military service. The husband is employed as a corrections officer at a state correctional facility, and he testified that, despite his PTSD, he is fully capable of performing his duties as a corrections officer. The husband's net income from his employment as a corrections officer is $2,383 per month. His VA disability benefits are not taxable. Thus, his total net monthly income from all sources is $4,177. Before he obtained his employment as a corrections officer, the husband had been temporarily unemployed and had commenced a Chapter 13 bankruptcy ...


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