Justice and Crum

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-24-2014
  • Case #: A152050
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, S.J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; Wollheim, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In order to properly preserve an issue for appeal, the matter must be clearly and unequivocally objected before judgment is entered, rather than a party waiting on an adverse or undesirable judgment.

Wife appealed ruling issued by trial court after a truncated dissolution trial. Wife assigned five assignments of error: (1) that the trial was fundamentally unfair because the court unreasonably truncated the proceeding; (2) That the court did not correctly calculate child support; (3) That the court failed to award transitional spousal support and awarded insufficient maintenance support; (4) The court orally ordered the husband not to possess firearms correctly, but never included that instruction in the written judgment; and (5) The court. erred in distributing parties’ personal assets before valuation. Trial Court was scheduled for a full day in the dissolution proceedings between Wife and Husband. The proceeding, however, did not begin until 2:00 p.m. and the judge placed a deadline of 4:30 p.m. for the matter to be finalized with an immediate decision to follow. After abbreviated closing arguments, the trial court judge issued his ruling. In her first assignment of error, Wife, pursuant to ORCP 64 B(1) argues the court’s truncated trial was unfair. The Court held that under ORS 40.370(1) the trial court has broad discretion, and because the wife failed to raise the objection during the proceeding, she did not properly preserve that matter for appeal. Similarly, for the second assignment of error, Wife failed to provide the court with a clear objection. Instead, she stated that her objections would be addressed in fuller detail during closing arguments. The objection was again not properly raised at the appropriate time, and therefore fails to be preserved for appeal. For her third assignment of error--that the trial court failed to award transitional spousal support and awarded insufficient maintenance support--there is merit. Here, the trial court failed to offer a reason for denying transitional support, and instead simply stated that they were doing so despite her submitted evidence. Wife's fourth assignment of error--that the court orally ordered the husband not to possess firearms but never included that instruction in the written judgment--was upheld. Husband's felony status should have caused the judge to reduce to writing instruction that possession of the owned handguns would result in a contempt charge. Finally, like in the other instances, Wife failed to sufficiently preserve the issue in her fifth assignment of error. The only time it was mentioned was in the post-judgment motion for a new trial, which, as stated above, means that it was not raised in proper detail at the proper time. As for the issue of transitional support and possession of a firearm, the case is remanded for further proceeding. Otherwise, affirmed.

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