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Sullivan v. Rockwood

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

September 1, 2015

DAVID SULLIVAN
v.
ZOË (SULLIVAN) ROCKWOOD

Submitted On Briefs July 1, 2015

On the briefs:

Alicia M. Cushing, Esq., Givertz, Scheffee & Lavoie, P.A., Portland, for appellant David Sullivan.

William R. Harrison, Esq., and Dawn Dyer, Esq., Windham, for appellee Zoë (Sullivan) Rockwood.

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

OPINION

Page 151

HJELM, J.

[¶1] David Sullivan appeals from a post-judgment order, entered by the District Court (Portland, Moskowitz, J. ), denying his motions to modify and enforce the parties' divorce judgment. Sullivan contends that the court erred by denying his motions and by declining to allow him to call a rebuttal witness. Because we conclude that the court erred when it denied Sullivan's motion to enforce, we vacate that portion of the judgment, but we affirm in all other respects.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] We view the following facts " in the light most favorable to the court's judgment." Young v. Young, 2015 ME 89, ¶ 2, 120 A.3d 106. Sullivan and Zoë (Sullivan) Rockwood were divorced in January 2013 after a contested hearing. The court issued a divorce judgment, which granted Rockwood spousal support of $2,500 per month for twenty years. Additionally, the judgment awarded Sullivan's retirement account to Rockwood, but Rockwood was required to draw from those proceeds to pay the taxes arising from the distribution of the account, the parties' outstanding tax liabilities, and all unpaid medical and dental bills of the parties and their minor children.

[¶3] In January 2014, Sullivan filed a motion to modify and enforce the divorce judgment. In the motion to modify, Sullivan argued that his spousal support obligation should be reduced or terminated because there had been a substantial

Page 152

change in the parties' financial circumstances, including Rockwood's cohabitation with another person. Sullivan's motion to enforce invoked the provision of the judgment that required Rockwood to pay certain debts out of the proceeds from Sullivan's retirement account. He alleged that the account had been disbursed to Rockwood, but that she had not used the proceeds to pay debts as the divorce decree required, and he sought a court order enforcing that requirement.[1]

[¶4] A hearing on Sullivan's motions was held in September 2014. Prior to the hearing, pursuant to a pretrial order, Sullivan submitted a witness list, which identified only himself, Rockwood, and the children's guardian ad litem[2] as potential witnesses, but reserved the right to call additional witnesses for the purposes of impeachment or rebuttal. At the hearing, Rockwood testified that she had a boyfriend who lived with her from approximately July 2013 to February 2014 when the relationship ended, but that she never intended for him to live with her permanently and that " [i]t was a temporary thing" to help him when he moved to Maine. Additionally, Rockwood testified that starting in approximately March 2013, her boyfriend's son occasionally stayed with her, and came to live with her and her boyfriend full time in the summer of 2013. The ...


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