In re the Marriage of James Nelson and Gricela Nelson, 2012COA205 (November 21, 2012)

A divorce can be an end or a beginning. In this case, it was neither. Substantively, this appeal concerned a modification of a prior award of spousal maintenance (a/k/a alimony) and awarded the ex-wife maintenance until remarriage, age 65, or death. Both parties sought attorneys’ fees. Ex-husband appealed before the trial court ruled on the fees motions. Over a dissent, the court of appeals held it had jurisdiction notwithstanding the lack of an order on the fee issues as it would not affect the maintenance decision. Addressing the merits, the court 1) declined to use the child support formula to calculate husband’s income, 2) agreed that the debilitating effects of fibromyalgia on ex-wife, and the ex-husband’s increased income supported a finding of substantial and continuing change, justifying additional maintenance, and 3) affirmed the retroactive award of maintenance.

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Filed under Appellate Review Challenged, Family Law

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