Case Caption: Donna Slack v. Rudolph SlackCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2017-0033Date: 06/14/2018Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: Summary: In its amended final decree of divorce the Superior court erred by entirely failing to explain its decision to deny, rather than grant, the wife’s request for legal fees and costs. While the court erred in finding that there was insufficient evidence to show that the husband possessed a Government Employees Retirement System account, such error was harmless because the wife failed to introduce any evidence to establish the projected value of the husband’s pension benefit, and consequently failed to prove an element necessary for equitable distribution of those benefits. The argument that the Superior Court erred in failing to address the wife’s credit card debt, either by distributing the debt as marital debt, or by recognizing her monthly interest payments on the debt as necessary expenses for purposes of computing the award of pendente lite support, was not raised below and is thus waived on appeal. The Superior Court, for unexplained reasons, failed to consider the wife’s motion for pendente lite support until after trial, and only granted her request retroactively in its final opinion, at a time when determination of her financial need during the course of the litigation was no longer a matter of future speculation, but of historical fact. It abused its discretion by reducing its award of pendente lite support by 50% on the basis of its findings concerning the probable future financial positions of the parties in light of the husband’s imminent retirement. That portion of the decree is reversed and remanded with instructions to fix an appropriate amount of pendente lite support consistent with this opinion. The amended final decree entered February 10, 2017, is affirmed in part and reversed in part and this matter is remanded for further proceedings.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion