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Ireland v. Tardiff

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

December 31, 2014

LAWRENCE S. IRELAND
v.
BROOKE (IRELAND) TARDIFF

Submitted on Briefs December 1, 2014.

On the briefs:

David J. Bobrow, Esq., Bedard and Bobrow, PC, Eliot, for appellant Lawrence S. Ireland.

Alicia M. Cushing, Esq., Givertz, Scheffee & Lavoie, PA, Portland, for appellee Brooke (Ireland) Tardiff.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

OPINION

ALEXANDER, J.

[¶1] Lawrence S. Ireland appeals from a judgment of the District Court (York, Cantara, J.) finding him in contempt pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 66 for his failure to make timely payment to his former wife, Brooke (Ireland) Tardiff, pursuant to their divorce judgment. Ireland argues that the court erred or abused its discretion in finding that Ireland could make four payments of $10,537.50 within nine months, as ordered, and in making its ultimate finding of contempt. Because the court's findings,

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made applying the appropriate standard of proof, are supported by competent evidence in the record, we affirm the judgment.

I. CASE HISTORY

[¶2] Lawrence S. Ireland and Brooke (Ireland) Tardiff were divorced by a judgment entered by the District Court ( Cantara, J.) in August 2012. As part of the division of marital property, the judgment, which was based on the parties' settlement agreement, required that Ireland pay Tardiff $50,000 within 120 days of the judgment. This sum included Tardiff's one-half interest in the value of Ireland's personal business, which was assigned an agreed-upon value of $60,000, plus one-half of a $40,000 sum that Ireland had removed from a safe deposit box and disposed of in violation of a preliminary injunction issued pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 104. After calculating other obligations owed by each party, the sum Ireland was actually required to pay was $42,150. Ireland did not appeal or otherwise seek relief from the divorce judgment.

[¶3] As of March 2013, seven months after the divorce judgment, Ireland had failed to pay any of the judgment amount, and Tardiff filed a motion to enforce the divorce judgment pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 120. After a motion hearing held in April 2013, the court ( Janelle, J.) issued an enforcement order requiring Ireland to pay Tardiff the requisite $42,150 sum within thirty days of the order, with statutory post-judgment interest accruing if timely payment was not made, and with attorney fees. See 14 M.R.S. § 1602-C(1)(B) (2014); 19-A M.R.S. § 105(1) (2014).

[¶4] The record indicates that following the enforcement order, Ireland sent Tardiff only $300 of the required judgment. Meanwhile, between March and August 2013, Ireland gave several gifts and " loans" to others, totaling nearly $2000, from his commingled business and personal checking accounts.

[¶5] In July 2013, Tardiff filed a verified motion for contempt pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 66 and M.R. Civ. P. 120. Ireland opposed the motion, claiming an inability to pay, and sought an order permitting monthly payments. Following a discovery conference held in November 2013, the court issued orders requiring Ireland to pay attorney fees in ...


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