Wallace R. McCullough, appellant,
Michelle A. McCullough. appellee.
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 are reviewed for abuse of discretion.
Attorney Fees: Appeal and Error. A trial
court's decision awarding or denying attorney fees will
be upheld on appeal absent an abuse of discretion.
Judgments: Words and Phrases. A judicial
abuse of discretion requires that the reasons or rulings of
the trial court be clearly untenable insofar as they unfairly
deprive a litigant of a substantial right and a just result.
Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. A
jurisdictional question which does not involve a factual
dispute is determined by an appellate court as a matter of
Judges: Recusal: Appeal and Error. A motion
requesting a judge to recuse himself or herself on the ground
of bias or prejudice is addressed to the discretion of the
judge, and an order overruling such a motion will be affirmed
on appeal unless the record establishes bias or prejudice as
a matter of law.
Contempt: Final Orders. An order of contempt
in a postjudgment proceeding to enforce a previous final
judgment is properly classified as a final order.
Contempt. Civil contempt proceedings are
instituted to preserve and enforce the rights of private
parties to a suit when a party fails to comply with a court
order made for the benefit of the opposing party.
Neb. 720] 8. Courts: Jurisdiction:
Divorce: Contempt. A court's continuing
jurisdiction over a dissolution decree includes the power to
provide equitable relief in a contempt proceeding.
Contempt: Courts: Equity. Contempt
proceedings may both compel obedience to orders and
administer the remedies to which the court has found the
parties to be entitled. Where a situation exists that is
contrary to the principles of equity and which can be
redressed within the scope of judicial action, a court of
equity will devise a remedy to meet the situation.
Contempt: Words and Phrases. Civil contempt
requires willful disobedience as an essential element.
"Willful" means the violation was committed
intentionally, with knowledge that the act violated the court
order. If it is impossible to comply with the order of the
court, the failure to comply is not willful.
Words and Phrases: Appeal and Error.
Willfulness is a factual determination to be reviewed for
Contempt: Proof: Evidence: Presumptions.
Outside of statutory procedures imposing a different standard
or an evidentiary presumption, all elements of contempt must
be proved by the complainant by clear and convincing evidence
and without any presumptions.
Contempt: Costs: Attorney Fees. Costs,
including reasonable attorney fees, can be awarded in a
Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. Before
reaching the legal issues presented for review, it is the
duty of an appellate court to determine whether it has
jurisdiction over the matter before it.
Appeals from the District Court for Sarpy County: Daniel E.
Bryan, Jr., Judge. Judgments in Nos. S-16-1086 and S-17-037
affirmed. Appeal in No. S-16-1187 dismissed.
William D. Gilner for appellant.
T. Peebles and Tosha Rae D. Heavican, of Brodkey, Peebles,
Belmont & Line, L.L.P, for appellee.
Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, and Funke, JJ.
these three consolidated appeals, Wallace R. McCullough
appeals orders entered by the district court for Sarpy County
[299 Neb. 721] in the proceeding for the dissolution of his
marriage to Michelle A. McCullough. Wallace appeals, inter
alia, an order of contempt for failing to make childcare and
property division equalization payments, an order of contempt
for failing to pay child support, and an order setting the
amount of a supersedeas bond. We dismiss the appeal of the
order regarding the amount of the supersedeas bond, and we
affirm the district court's orders in the two other
March 22, 2010, the district court for Sarpy County entered a
decree dissolving Wallace and Michelle's marriage. In the
decree of dissolution, the district court ordered, inter
alia, that legal and physical custody of the couple's
children be awarded to Michelle, subject to Wallace's
parenting time; that Wallace pay Michelle child support of
$3, 005 per month; that Wallace pay a share of childcare
expenses incurred by Michelle; and that Wallace pay Michelle
$552, 124.89 to equalize the property division, payable at a
rate of $50, 000 per year plus interest until paid in full.
12, 2012, Michelle filed a complaint for modification of the
decree of dissolution. She requested, inter alia, that
Wallace's parenting time be supervised and that proceeds
from the sale of certain property be reassigned to her. On
July 30, Wallace filed an answer and a counterclaim in which
he requested, inter alia, that he be awarded sole custody of
the children. On August 6, Michelle filed an answer to
Wallace's counterclaim in which she requested the
counterclaim be dismissed. On August 7, Wallace filed an
amended answer and counterclaim in which he further
requested, inter alia, a change in his child support
obligation based on a change in income and that he be given
credit for amounts totaling $268, 400 that he alleged should
be treated as having been paid toward the property
settlement. On January 21, 2014, Wallace filed another
amended answer and counterclaim in which he made additional
allegations and requests.
Neb. 722] On June 8, 2016, Michelle filed a verified
complaint for contempt in which she alleged that Wallace had
failed to pay child support, childcare expenses, and property
equalization payments required under the decree of
dissolution. The district court entered an order on June 13
for Wallace to show cause why he should not be held in