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In re Marriage of Boswell

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division

April 28, 2014

In re the Marriage of VLADIXA and JOHN M. BOSWELL. VLADIXA BOSWELL, Appellant,
v.
JOHN M. BOSWELL, Respondent.

Superior Court County of Ventura Super. Ct. No. D142630, Roger Lund, Judge

Page 1173

COUNSEL

Spector & Bennet and Ross A. Spector for Appellant.

Jeffrey S. Graff, for Respondent.

Page 1174

OPINION

YEGAN, J.

This is another frivolous family law appeal. As we shall explain, given well-known appellate rules, it was "dead on arrival" at the appellate courthouse. (See Estate of Gilkison (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 1443, 1449 [77 Cal.Rptr.2d 463].) The family law court is a court of equity and fairness. Here the trial court, exercising its broad equitable discretion, refused to enforce a 25 year old judgment for child support arrearages because appellant (mother) concealed the children for 15 years. It specifically ruled that doing so would be "inequitable, " that the request was "untimely, " "unjust" and "[t]his is just a terribly egregious situation." The trial court did not credit mother’s factual explanation. It did credit respondent's (father’s) factual explanation, i.e. he did not visit the children or pay child support because mother did conceal the children.

Mother contends that the trial court abused its discretion and applied a faulty legal analysis in making its ruling. In addition, she claims that the trial court should have credited her declaration that she did not conceal the children. We will affirm the judgment. We will not impose sanctions for this frivolous appeal only because the trial court did err by employing a laches rationale as an independent reason for denying enforcement of the judgment.

Factual and Procedural Background

Mother and father dissolved their marriage in October of 1985. The trial court awarded physical custody of the two children, Denise (dob 2/24/80) and John Jr. (dob 3/6/82) to mother. Father was ordered to pay $70 per month child support per child. He did so for two months and then mother "disappeared" with the children. She moved from California, changed the children’s names, and did not notify father of their new addresses. Father did not see the children for approximately 15 years, almost their entire minority. After Denise reached the age of majority, mother "gave" custody of John Jr. to father in 1998 when he was 16 years old. He lived with father until he reached majority.

Fifteen years after that, i.e. in 2013, the children were over 30 years old. Then, mother sought to enforce the child support order and sought a judgment of $92, 734.94.

Fairness/Equity Principles

"Family law court is a court of equity. [Citation.]" (In re Marriage of Calcaterra & Badakhsh (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 28, 38 [33 Cal.Rptr.3d 246].) "Those who seek equity, must do equity and have ...


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