CLAYTON B. SCHROEDER, APPELLEE,
MARIA A. SCHROEDER, NOW KNOWN AS MARIA A. MICHAELIS, APPELLANT.
Child Custody: Appeal and Error. Child
custody determinations are matters initially entrusted to the
discretion of the trial court, and although reviewed de novo
on the record, the trial court's determination will
normally be affirmed absent an abuse of discretion.
Judgments: Pleadings: Appeal and Error. A
motion to alter or amend a judgment is addressed to the
discretion of the trial court, whose decision will be upheld
in the absence of an abuse of that discretion.
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.
Contempt: Proof. Outside of statutory
procedures imposing a different standard, it is the
complainant's burden to prove civil contempt by clear and
Child Custody. While the wishes of a child
are not controlling in the determination of custody, if a
child is of sufficient age and has expressed an intelligent
preference, the child's preference is entitled to
Judgments. In the absence of a request by a
party for specific findings, a trial court is not required to
make detailed findings of fact and need only make its
findings generally for the prevailing party.
Trial. Even where the civil procedure code
mandates specific findings, it does so only upon a
Neb.App. 228] 8. Trial:
Time. Motions for specific findings of fact pursuant
to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-1127 (Reissue 2016) must be made
before the final submission of the case to the court.
Contempt: Words and Phrases. When a party to
an action fails to comply with a court order made for the
benefit of the opposing party, such an act is ordinarily a
civil contempt, which requires willful disobedience as an
essential element. "Willful" means the violation
was committed intentionally, with knowledge that the act
violated the court order.
Contempt: Presumptions: Proof. 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.
Divorce: Attorney Fees: Costs. Customarily
in dissolution cases, attorney fees and costs are awarded
only to prevailing parties or assessed against those who file
Modification of Decree: Attorney Fees: Appeal and
Error. In an action for modification of a
dissolution decree, the award of attorney fees is
discretionary with the trial court, is reviewed de novo on
the record, and will be affirmed in the absence of an abuse
Attorney Fees. Attorney fees and expenses
may be recovered only where provided for by statute or when a
recognized and accepted uniform course of procedure has been
to allow recovery of attorney fees.
Divorce: Modification of Decree: Attorney
Fees. A uniform course of procedure exists in
Nebraska for the award of attorney fees in dissolution and
Attorney Fees. The award of attorney fees
depends on multiple factors that include the nature of the
case, the services performed and results obtained, the
earning capacity of the parties, the length of time required
for preparation and presentation of the case, customary
charges of the bar, and general equities of the case.
from the District Court for Douglas County: Peter C.
Bataillon, Judge. Affirmed.
Benjamin E. Maxell, of Govier, Katskee, Suing & Maxell.
PC, L.L.O., for appellant.
Matthew Stuart Higgins, of Higgins Law, for appellee.
Pirtle, Riedmann, and Bishop, Judges.
Neb.App. 229] PIRTLE, JUDGE.
A. Schroeder, now known as Maria A. Michaelis, appeals the
order of modification entered by the district court for
Douglas County on June 20, 2017, and the order overruling her
motion to alter or amend, filed August 7. The court denied
Maria's request to hold her former husband, Clayton B.
Schroeder, in contempt of court and granted Clayton's
request for legal custody and attorney fees. The court denied
Clayton's request to hold Maria in contempt of court. For
the reasons that follow, we affirm.
and Maria were married in June 2002 and divorced in June
2006. Their daughter, Alexis Schroeder (Lexi), was born in
May 2004. The original decree of dissolution was entered on
June 8, 2006. The parties have returned to the district court
for Douglas County numerous times for the purpose of
modifying their decree or to allege violations of the decree
by the other party.
present matter, Clayton filed a complaint to modify and an
application for contempt citation on March 15, 2016. He
alleged that Maria had scheduled and fostered Lexi's
participation in a number of activities without giving
Clayton notice or obtaining his consent. He argued that third
parties, including coaches and school officials, were not
honoring the authority given to him by the district court in
an order entered in December 2015. He argued that Maria
defied his authority by interacting with third parties on
Lexi's behalf ...