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DIVORCE 59: A consent judgment of divorce is to be construed as a contract.

Plaintiff and defendant divorced pursuant to a consent judgment of divorce. The consent judgment of divorce provided, in relevant part, that defendant was to receive the former marital home and plaintiff was to receive his share of the equity in the home less half of any outstanding debts or liens on the home and other specified debts which plaintiff owed defendant.

Enforce Judgement of Divorce

After the entry of the consent judgment of divorce, plaintiff filed two motions to enforce the judgment of divorce. Plaintiff argued, in relevant part, that defendant failed to refinance the home or sell the home and pay plaintiff his share of the equity. In response, defendant argued that there was no equity in the home because there was a second mortgage on the home.

At the hearing on plaintiff’s motions, plaintiff argued that defendant should be ordered to sell the home because she failed to refinance.

Judgment of Divorce is a Contract

A consent judgment of divorce is to be construed as a contract and to be applied as such. Likewise, a property settlement agreement in a divorce is construed as a contract.

The consent judgment of divorce includes a property settlement agreement which provides, in relevant part, that defendant was to receive the former marital home, but had to refinance the home within 90 days or sell the home. Despite this clear obligation, the record reflects that defendant did not refinance the home and did not sell the home.

The trial court moved to enforce the judgment of divorce.

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FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

CRIMINAL 19: Sentencing guidelines are advisory.

The sentencing guidelines are advisory, and although a trial court must determine the applicable guidelines range and take it into account when imposing a sentence, the court is not required to sentence a defendant within that range.

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