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Morgan v. Foretich

546 A.2d 407 (D.C. Cir. 1988)

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Morgan v. Foretich

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

546 A.2d 407 (D.C. Cir. 1988)

Facts

Jean Morgan (plaintiff) and Eric Foretich (defendant) were divorced. The trial court awarded Morgan custody of H, their daughter. Foretich was given liberal visitation. Two months after the trial court’s order, Morgan began accusing Foretich of sexually abusing H and refused to allow Foretich to visit H. The court appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of H. Foretich filed a motion to hold Morgan in contempt for her refusal to comply with the court order and for a change of custody. Morgan filed a motion to temporarily suspend visitation and compel discovery. At a hearing, the trial court found that Morgan had failed to prove that Foretich abused H, but held that Morgan had willfully disobeyed the court order without justification. The trial court held Morgan in contempt. Morgan appealed. The appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. Later, the trial court began a series of hearings on (1) Foretich’s motion for a change of custody and termination of Morgan’s parental rights and (2) Morgan’s cross-motion to suspend Foretich’s visitation or, in the alternative, to require supervised visitation. During the hearings, the trial judge expanded the visitation schedule, granting Foretich a number of overnight visitations and weekends with H. Subsequently, the trial court entered an order allowing Foretich to have an extended, two-week visitation with H toward the end of the summer. Morgan immediately filed an emergency motion to stay enforcement of the extended visitation pending an appeal. The appellate court denied Morgan’s appeal. Morgan refused to comply with the extended visitation order, hid H’s whereabouts from Foretich, and refused to reveal H’s location. After a hearing to show cause as to why Morgan had not complied with the court’s order, Morgan was found in contempt and incarcerated. Morgan appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Steadman, J.)

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