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Ellis v. Ellis

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

December 31, 2014

LIANE ELLIS, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM D. ELLIS, Defendant

Heard in the Court of Appeals: October 22, 2014.

Appeal by plaintiff from order entered 23 September 2013 by Judge Christy T. Mann in Mecklenburg County District Court, No. 11 CVD 22967 CTM.

The Law Office of Richard B. Johnson, PA, by Richard B. Johnson, for plaintiff-appellant.

Hamilton Stephens Steele & Martin, PLLC, by Amy Simpson Fiorenza, for defendant-appellee.

BRYANT, Judge. Judges ELMORE and ERVIN concur.

OPINION

Page 414

BRYANT, Judge.

Where the trial court made findings of fact to support its award of alimony for a specific period, and properly considered condoned acts of marital misconduct by a dependent spouse in making its decision regarding alimony, we affirm the order of the trial court. Awarding of attorneys' fees in a claim for alimony is within the discretion of the trial court.

Plaintiff Liane Ellis and defendant William D. Ellis, both Canadian citizens, were married on 29 December 1996. Two minor children were born of the marriage.

In 2007, defendant was transferred by his employer to England with his family. Two years later, while residing in England, defendant discovered that plaintiff had engaged in an extra-marital affair with a hockey player beginning in 2006. Plaintiff and defendant agreed not to separate and underwent marital counseling to repair their marriage.

In 2010, defendant was promoted by his employer and transferred to Charlotte, North Carolina with his family. On 21 December 2011, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant for child custody, child support, equitable distribution, post-separation support and alimony, divorce from bed and board, and interim distribution. Defendant

Page 415

filed an answer and counterclaim seeking a temporary parenting arrangement, a forensic examination, child custody, child support, and equitable distribution. An order adopting the parties' interim agreement was entered 6 March 2013.

On 21 May 2013, plaintiff and defendant agreed to a permanent custody and visitation consent order. On 26 May, plaintiff filed a motion alleging defendant was in contempt for violating the interim order. A trial was held on 31 May concerning the parties' claims for equitable distribution, child support, alimony, attorneys' fees, and contempt. On 23 September, the trial court entered an order regarding the claims for equitable distribution, child support, alimony, and attorneys' fees, and denying plaintiff's motion for contempt. Plaintiff appeals.

Plaintiff raises three issues on appeal addressing whether the trial court erred in: (I) awarding plaintiff only two years of alimony; (II) considering plaintiff's marital misconduct in calculating its award of ...


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