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State v. Laue

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

August 1, 2017

State of Nebraska on behalf of Dawn Lockwood. Appellant,
v.
Travis Laue, Appellee. and Dawn Lockwood, Appellee.

         1. Equity: Appeal and Error. On appeal from an equity action, an appellate court tries factual questions de novo on the record and, as to questions of both fact and law, is obligated to reach a conclusion independent of the conclusion reached by the trial court, provided that where credible evidence is in conflict in a material issue of fact, the appellate court considers and may give weight to the fact that the trial judge heard and observed the witnesses and accepted one version of the facts rather than another.

         2. Contempt: Appeal and Error. In a civil contempt proceeding where a party seeks remedial relief for an alleged violation of a court order, an appellate court employs a three-part standard of review in which (1) the trial court's resolution of issues of law is reviewed de novo, (2) the trial court's factual findings are reviewed for clear error, and (3) the trial court's determinations of whether a party is in contempt and of the sanction to be imposed is reviewed for abuse of discretion.

         3. Child Support: Actions: Final Orders. Upon receipt of a child support referee's findings and recommendations, the district court is provided the opportunity to have a further hearing and review regarding the recommendation, and has the ability to accept or reject all or any part of the report before its final disposition in ratifying or modifying the recommendations of the referee.

         4. Equity. In an equitable action, the district court is vested with broad equitable powers and discretion to fashion appropriate relief.

         5. Child Support: Equity. An exception hearing to a child support referee's report is an equitable action, and it is within the discretion of the district court to allow the presentation and receipt of new or additional [24 Neb.App. 910] evidence at an exception hearing upon receiving the referee's findings and recommendations.

         6. Child Support: Actions: Final Orders. The child support referee's recommendation is a nonbinding recommendation, and the final determination is left to the district court.

         7. Child Support: Equity. As the district court is provided the discretion to accept or reject all or any part of the referee's report and ratify or modify the referee's findings and recommendations, so shall the district court in a court of equity have the discretion to receive additional or new evidence at an exception hearing.

         8. Child Support: Appeal and Error. When a child support referee makes a report and no exception is filed, the district court reviews the referee's report de novo on the record.

         9. Child Support: Equity. If an exception is filed to a child support referee's report, the party filing an exception is entitled to a hearing and the district court as a court of equity has the discretion to allow the presentation of new or additional evidence.

         Appeal from the District Court for Buffalo County: William T. Wright, Judge. Affirmed.

          Shawn R. Eatherton, Buffalo County Attorney, and Andrew W. Hoffmeister for appellant.

          Bergan E. Schumacher, of Bruner Frank, L.L.C., for appellee Dawn Lockwood.

          Moore, Chief Judge, and Inbody and Riedmann, Judges.

          ...


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