Case Caption: Norman Martin v. Alvina MartinCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2012-0097Date: 06/28/2013Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In a former husband's appeal from a final order entered by the Family Division of the Superior Court granting his ex-wife exclusive right and title to their marital home and denying his request for alimony, the judgment is affirmed. The divorce court has authority under 33 V.I.C. § 2305(d) to dispose of the marital homestead in a divorce case, and upon review of the facts it did not abuse its discretion in awarding the property to the former wife. Courts are authorized to award alimony by 16 V.I.C. §§ 109 and 345, and these sections make clear that the trial court is not to consider marital fault in granting alimony but must instead consider only the resources of the person giving such support and the party receiving it. In this case, it is not clear whether the trial court considered martial fault in its alimony determination, but if it did such error was harmless since there are sufficient findings in the court's ruling, supported by the record, to affirm a denial of alimony to the husband, considering the evidence as to the wife's limited resources and the lack of proof of need on the part of the former husband. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied him alimony, but should his condition deteriorate, the former husband free to move the trial court to amend the alimony determination under 16 V.I.C. § 110. No demonstration has been made of (1) an intervening change in controlling law, (2) newly available evidence, or (3) a need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice, and thus reconsideration of the lower court's decisions was not warranted. The July 11, 2012 Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order, and the September 4, 2012 Order denying the Motion for Reconsideration, are affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion