Emotions run high during divorce, and sometimes unfortunately the parties will try to hurt each other. When a party to a divorce intentionally damages property or wastes the couple’s assets, the other party may seek a remedy through the court. In the recent case of In re Marriage of Fellows, a Washington appeals court reviewed an order for contempt of court against a wife who allegedly damaged the couple’s home.
The wife, Michaela, appealed the order finding her in contempt of court for violating the dissolution decree. The trial court found that she had intentionally violated its order by damaging the couple’s home.
The decree awarded the home to the husband, Charles, but allowed the wife to remain there for another 60 days. At the request of the husband’s counsel, the court ruled the home was to be maintained in the condition it was in. When presenting its written ruling, the court also instructed the wife not to damage the home in any way, and it noted that if damage did occur, the court would consider contempt and address the damage.