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Hamilton v. Hamilton

Supreme Court of Indiana
914 N.E.2d 747 (Ind. 2009)


Facts

Richard Hamilton (defendant) and Suzanne Hamilton (plaintiff) divorced in Florida. The Hamiltons had children at the time of the divorce. The divorce decree awarded Suzanne custody of the children and ordered Richard to pay $1,473 per month in child support. Richard did not pay the child support. Suzanne filed a motion for contempt in Florida. The trial court granted the motion, sentencing Richard to 170 days in jail, unless he paid $7,500 to Suzanne within 20 days. Richard did not pay, but moved to Indiana. Suzanne petitioned to register the Florida support order and contempt order in the Vanderburgh Superior Court in Indiana. The superior court registered the orders, but held that the jail sentence would be stayed if Richard paid $3,750 and made monthly payments of $1,250. Under this payment plan, Richard’s arrearages of child support would continue to build. Richard began paying child support, but fell behind on the payment plan. As a result, the superior court issued an order staying Richard’s jail sentence if Richard found a job and agreed to a wage garnishment of $150 per week. Richard found a job and began paying an average of $150 per week via wage garnishment. Suzanne filed a motion to hold Richard in contempt for failing to pay the higher amounts of child support that he owed under the initial Florida order. The superior court found that Richard was not in contempt of the orders. The court of appeals affirmed. Suzanne appealed, arguing that the superior court’s orders improperly modified the original Florida order under the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA), 28 U.S.C. § 1738B, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Boehm, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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