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Dube v. Dube

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

January 19, 2016

KEVIN DUBE
v.
LISA DUBE

         Submitted on Briefs November 19, 2015.

         On the briefs:

          Gene R. Libby, Esq., and Tyler J. Smith, Esq., Libby O'Brien Kingsley & Champion, LLC, Kennebunk, for appellant Kevin Dube.

         Jeffrey P. Buhrman, Esq., South Portland, for appellant Lisa Dube.

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

          OPINION

Page 382

          HUMPHREY, J.

          [¶1] Kevin Dube appeals from a divorce judgment entered in the District Court (Biddeford, Janelle, J. ). He argues that the court abused its discretion in setting his rights of contact with the parties' daughter by (1) depriving him of overnight visitation with his daughter, and (2) failing to set a specific contact schedule. He also challenges the judgment as to the spousal and child support awards, arguing that the court erred in finding that Kevin earns $175,000 per year--a finding underpinning both awards. For the following reasons, we conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in setting Kevin's rights of contact. However, because we conclude that the court erred in its finding regarding Kevin's income, we vacate the judgment as to the spousal and child support awards and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. BACKGROUND

          [¶2] The following facts, drawn from the record in this contested divorce matter, are undisputed. Kevin and Lisa Dube were married on December 24, 2002, and have a fourteen-year-old daughter.[1] Kevin is a merchant marine engineer who works the majority of the year on the Great Lakes. Lisa is a homemaker who earned

Page 383

some income over the course of the marriage through self-employment.

          [¶3] Kevin filed a complaint for divorce on March 25, 2014. On February 10, 2015, a final divorce hearing was held in the District Court,[2] and on March 13, 2015, the court entered a final divorce judgment granting Lisa and Kevin shared parental rights and responsibilities and stating,

Kevin shall have the right to visit with and be visited by [their daughter] at all reasonable times when he is in Maine during time off from his work on the Great Lakes. The parents shall confer to set up a workable schedule. Lisa and Kevin should be flexible in scheduling parenting time and should consider the benefits to [their daughter] of frequent, meaningful and regular contact with each parent and the schedules of the child and each parent. Both parents shall provide the other parent direct telephone access to [their daughter]. Phone calls made to [their daughter] shall be promptly returned.

         The court stated that it had " made certain findings regarding the parties' incomes and Parental Support Obligation set forth in the Child Support Worksheet that are incorporated herein" and ordered that Kevin pay $325 per week in child support. The worksheet lists Lisa's gross income as $25,000 per year and Kevin's as $175,000. The court also ordered that Kevin pay general spousal support of $3,300 per month for six years, stating,

The [c]ourt considered all of the factors listed in 19-A M.R.S. § 951-A [2015] in arriving at this spousal support award. The [c]ourt finds that Kevin currently earns significantly more income than Lisa and that he has a much greater earning potential than Lisa. This spousal support award allows ...

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