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In Re the Marriage of Veronica and Curtis Priem. v. Curtis Priem

March 13, 2013

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF VERONICA AND CURTIS PRIEM. VERONICA PRIEM, APPELLANT,
v.
CURTIS PRIEM, RESPONDENT.



Trial Court: Alameda County Superior Court Trial Judge: Hon. Thomas J. Nixon Super. Ct. No. HF10494404)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dondero, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION*fn1

Alameda County

In this dissolution proceeding, appellant Veronica Priem appeals from the trial court's orders denying her request for temporary spousal support and denying a portion of her request for professional fees. The court found she was statutorily ineligible to receive spousal support based on her history of domestic violence towards her husband, respondent Curtis Priem. She claims the court erroneously considered her prior plea of nolo contendere to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence in arriving at its decision. She also claims the court failed to properly consider her fee request. We affirm both orders.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The parties were married in July 1999. The marriage produced two sons, one born in May 2000 and the second born in May 2007.

On January 19, 2010, appellant filed a petition for dissolution.

On February 22, 2010, the trial court ordered respondent to pay appellant $10,000 per month in unallocated temporary support. He was also ordered to pay her $20,000 for attorney and other professional fees. The parties were referred to child custody mediation.

On March 9, 2010, respondent filed a responsive declaration to an order to show cause, alleging a 10-year history of appellant's erratic and abusive behavior, including the commission of several acts of domestic violence.

On March 23, 2010, the trial court awarded respondent temporary sole physical and legal custody of the children. The court adopted, with modifications, the family court mediator's recommendations as to the parties' visitation schedule. The children were to spend the first half of each week with appellant, and the second half with respondent. Both parties were ordered to complete an anger management program.

On May 26, 2010, respondent filed another responsive declaration in which he agreed to pay guideline child support to appellant, but requested relief from paying temporary spousal support citing to her May 2008 misdemeanor conviction for battery committed against a spouse (Pen. Code, § 243, subd. (e)(1)).*fn2 He also further detailed the history of domestic abuse, alleging it had generated 19 written police reports, five arrests, three criminal convictions, three criminal protective orders, one civil temporary restraining order, and three probationary periods. She also was presently on probation as a result of the May 2008 conviction, and there was a criminal protective order currently in effect that was set to expire in May 2011.

On November 2, 2010, the parties testified at a hearing regarding temporary support and attorney fees.

On November 10, 2010, the trial court filed its order after hearing. The court ordered respondent to pay appellant $14,602 per month in child support. The court noted appellant's 2008 conviction for domestic violence created a rebuttable presumption under Family Code section 4325*fn3 that an award of spousal support would be inappropriate. The court found she had "presented little in the way of mitigation" towards rebutting the presumption. Accordingly, her request for temporary spousal support was ...


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