Hillard v. Keating, 041318 KYCA, 2017-CA-001176-ME

Docket Nº:2017-CA-001176-ME
Opinion Judge:LAMBERT, J., JUDGE
Party Name:KIMBERLY ANN HILLARD, APPELLANT v. JERRY LANCE KEATING, APPELLEE
Attorney:BRIEF FOR APPELLANT Rhonda M. Copley Richard A. Hughes.
Judge Panel:BEFORE: COMBS, JOHNSON, AND J. LAMBERT, JUDGES.
Case Date:April 13, 2018
Court:Court of Appeals of Kentucky
 
FREE EXCERPT

KIMBERLY ANN HILLARD, APPELLANT

v.

JERRY LANCE KEATING, APPELLEE

No. 2017-CA-001176-ME

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

April 13, 2018

          APPEAL FROM BOYD CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE C. DAVID HAGERMAN, JUDGE ACTION NO. 07-CI-00334

          BRIEF FOR APPELLANT Rhonda M. Copley Richard A. Hughes.

          BEFORE: COMBS, JOHNSON, AND J. LAMBERT, JUDGES.

          OPINION AFFIRMING

          LAMBERT, J., JUDGE

         Kimberly Ann Hillard has appealed from the post-decree order of the Boyd Circuit Court modifying her settlement agreement with her former husband, Jerry Lance Keating, and permitting him to claim the dependent-child tax exemptions for their younger two children. We affirm.

         Kimberly and Jerry were married in 1999 and separated in 2007. Three children were born of the marriage: Shelby in 2000, Thomas in 2004, and Emily in 2006. Jerry filed a petition to dissolve the marriage in March 2007. Shortly thereafter, the parties entered into a settlement agreement. Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement, the parties would share joint custody of the three children with Kimberly designated as the primary residential custodian and with Jerry having visitation. Jerry would pay $1, 240.00 per month in child support and half of any work-related daycare expenses, and the parties would equally split co-pays and prescription expenses for the children. In paragraph 4, the parties agreed that Jerry "shall be permitted to claim the children on his taxes until such time as [Kimberly] can no longer claim earned income credit. At that time, [Jerry] shall claim two children and [Kimberly] shall claim one child." The agreement also addressed marital real estate and debts, personal property, and Jerry's pension plans. The document established that it was "the entire agreement of the parties herein and is the final settlement of all questions which can or may arise relative to the property rights of the parties herein[.]" The court entered a decree of dissolution of marriage on May 31, 2007, in which it incorporated the settlement agreement after finding it to be not unconscionable.

         Extensive post-decree litigation continued regarding issues with visitation, healthcare, and other financial issues. We shall only discuss those motions and rulings germane to the issue in this appeal.

         In 2009, Kimberly filed a motion requesting that the court split responsibility for the children's healthcare expenses not covered by insurance between the parties pursuant to their percentages of income. Jerry objected, stating that pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement, the parties were to be equally responsible for co-pays and prescription expenses, and that Kimberly was seeking modification of the court-approved agreement. By order entered May 15, 2009, the court ordered that any healthcare expenses not covered by insurance were to be divided by the parties' percentage of income.1 Jerry was to pay or reimburse Kimberly for these expenses within 30 days from receipt of the bill.

         Later that year, Kimberly sought relief related to visitation, the provision of health insurance cards, payment from Jerry of his 85% portion of the daycare costs (which she asserted was part of a previous court order), and reimbursement of medical expenses. Jerry disputed Kimberly's claim that he was obligated under a previous order to pay 85% of daycare costs. Rather, the May 2009 order addressed his need to pay 85% of the expenses not covered by health insurance, not daycare expenses. Jerry stated that the 85% amount was based upon the income percentages in the most recently adopted child support worksheet. His only obligation concerning daycare was to pay half of that amount. In addition, Jerry requested that he be allowed to claim all three children for income tax purposes if Kimberly was not working. In reply, Kimberly confirmed that she was working and that she should retain the dependent-child tax exemptions. By agreed order entered December 10, 2009, the parties agreed to be equally responsible for daycare expenses, and Jerry agreed to reimburse medical expenses pursuant to the percentage of his child support obligation within 30 days of receipt.

         Despite this agreement, disputes continued between the parties, and these disputes included Jerry's repayment of medical expenses. In August 2010, Kimberly filed a motion asking for Jerry to pay his percentage of preschool costs in lieu of daycare expenses and to pay his percentage of counseling, eye examination, and orthodontic costs within seven days. Kimberly reported that Jerry told her he would not pay for those expenses. In response, Jerry objected to having to pay for the youngest child's preschool costs, noting that pursuant to the settlement agreement, the children would be attending Rose Hill School as long as Kimberly's father paid those costs. He stated that the fee for the youngest child to attend preschool at a private school would be more than the daycare expenses incurred on her behalf. He also objected to Kimberly's request for payment within seven days as he was ordered to make these payments within 30 days. ...

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