In re Marriage of Evarts, No. 36655-3-III

CourtCourt of Appeals of Washington
Writing for the CourtFEARING, J.
PartiesIn the Matter of the Marriage of: Elizabeth Hope Evarts, Appellant, and Jeremy Lucius Evarts, Respondent.
Decision Date26 September 2019
Docket NumberNo. 36655-3-III

In the Matter of the Marriage of: Elizabeth Hope Evarts, Appellant,
Jeremy Lucius Evarts, Respondent.

No. 36655-3-III


September 26, 2019


FEARING, J. — Hope Evarts appeals from numerous rulings of the trial court in a marital dissolution action. In addition to challenging the substance of the dissolution court's rulings, Hope claims error in the trial judge's refusal to recuse. Because Hope fails to present argument in her opening brief as to four of her five assignments of error and because substantial evidence supports the dissolution court's limitation of her visitation rights to her children, we affirm all rulings of the trial court.


Elizabeth Hope Evarts (Hope) and Jeremy Lucius Evarts (Jeremy) married one another on March 4, 2000. During the couples' sixteen year marriage, they beget four

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children, two boys and two girls.

Hope Evarts earned a Bachelor's of Science in Horticulture, but ceased working outside the home on the birth of the couple's first child. As of the date of marital separation, Hope had stayed home to care for the children for fifteen years. Jeremy worked as director of sales at Armstrong Flooring and earned a base salary of $141,000. Some years he received a bonus.

We relate some of the background leading to the couple's separation not to embarrass either party, but to outline the evidence on which we conclude the dissolution court did not abuse its discretion when limiting Hope Evarts' visitation rights with the children. According to Jeremy, the couple's relationship deteriorated after Hope met her friend Beth in the fall of 2015. Shortly thereafter, Hope, in the couple's living room, performed an exorcism on Beth and removed demons from Beth. Hope thereafter reported to Jeremy of Beth receiving prophetic dreams consistent with the Bible. According to Hope, God, in turn, appointed Hope to translate Beth's visions. Hope began meeting every Sunday with Beth at the Evarts' residence. Eventually Beth and her son resided in the home. Hope allowed Beth to carry a handgun in the residence.

One morning in early 2016, while Jeremy was on a business trip to Saskatoon, Hope telephoned Jeremy. Hope immediately asked Jeremy: "'Who did you get a blow job from last night?'" Report of Proceedings (RP) (Oct. 23, 2017) at 167. Jeremy denied any oral sex. Hope replied: "'That's not true. I had a clear vision last night that

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you were receiving oral sex from someone.'" RP (Oct. 23, 2017) at 167-68. On his return home, Jeremy asked Hope to engage in marriage counseling with him. Hope refused because of her insistence in the accuracy of her dream.

Later one day, Hope and Jeremy Evarts sat together in the residence's living room. Hope left her chair and approached Jeremy while speaking in tongues. Jeremy is deaf in his right ear. Hope informed Jeremy that a demon whispered to him in his deaf ear. Hope then attempted to extricate the demon from the presence of Jeremy. God had told Hope that the demon sat on Jeremy's right shoulder.

As the end time progressed, Hope told Jeremy about visions of rapture, ISIS assuming control of the entire world, imposition of martial law, and the end of the world at which time sinners will receive payment for sins. As Hope's behavior changed, Jeremy assumed more parental duties. He transported the four children to and from school.

The parties disagree as to what occurred one day in June 2016 with regard to Hope's cell phone. According to Jeremy, Hope handed him her cell phone. She then immediately lunged at him to snatch back her phone. Hope remarked that he would never forgive her if he viewed data on the cell phone.

According to Hope Evarts, Jeremy sought to place a GPS tracker on her phone, so he asked to see the phone. As soon as she handed the phone to him, she grabbed it back. Jeremy, a six-foot-four man who weighs three hundred pounds, then jumped on her. He

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clawed her and usurped the phone. Jeremy removed the battery from the phone. Apparently, his intentions had changed from placing a tracker on the cell phone to disabling the phone. Without emotion, Jeremy announced that he must disable the phone because of his love for Hope and in order to prevent her from being tempted to commit a grievous sin. Hope then rinsed blood from her arm and took a nap.

Soon after the phone incident, Hope threatened to file a protection order if he did not co-sign a lease. If he signed the lease, she would kindly allow him to visit the children whenever he desired. They continued to share the same bedroom.

In July 2016, Jeremy asked Hope why she slept in the same bed with him if she worried for her safety. She thereafter refused him entry into the bedroom. Hope then wrote "Va J hole" on a box and placed it in Jeremy's car within the view of the children. RP (Oct. 23, 2017) at 205.

On August 15, 2016, the parties separated. Hope Evarts then filed a petition for order of protection against Jeremy. Jeremy then moved from the family home.

On August 29, 2016, Hope Evarts filed a petition for legal separation. She abandoned her request for a protection order in the case filed two weeks earlier. In the legal separation suit, the superior court entered a mutual restraining order. The court temporarily granted Hope residential placement of the four children, with Jeremy exercising visitation every Friday after school until Sunday at 6 p.m.

On September 27, 2016, the dissolution court ordered Jeremy Evarts to pay $4,000

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per month in unsegregated family support to Hope. The court ordered both parties to pay fifty percent of the mortgage payment. The court altered Jeremy's visitation schedule to three mutually agreeable weekends per month and every Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m.

Hope has not worked in agriculture in Washington and has looked at alternative careers. During the fourteen months between separation and the dissolution trial, Hope applied for four jobs. She remained unemployed at the time of trial.

In December 2016, Hope gift wrapped the couple's parenting plan and presented the present to Jeremy for Christmas. A card accompanied the gift, which card read: "'I was thinking, what is the one thing you must—you need most this celebration of Jesus' birth.'" RP (Oct. 19, 2017) at 123. On another occasion, Hope packed Jeremy's suits in a box and placed the box in his car. She placed on the box a label, on which she wrote: "Va-J hole suits." RP (Oct. 19, 2017) at 125.

Hope Evarts told the children that Jeremy is a narcissist, abuser, thief, and adulterer. While Jeremy and the children ate dinner one evening, Hope spoke, by speaker phone, to the five about Jeremy's faults. Hope enlightened the children that Jeremy had lost his salvation and would enter the underworld because of his evil behavior. She supported her accusations with Scripture passages. The children became upset and pleaded with Jeremy to repent.

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On at least one occasion, while the children visited at their father's home, Hope sent text messages to the children, instructing them to call 911 and instructing them what to tell the police.


On February 14, 2017, Hope Evarts filed an amended petition for marital dissolution.

On April 19, 2017, Jeremy Evarts moved the court to permit third parties to transport the children between parents, to retrieve his boat from the marital home, and to change the visitation schedule to every other week for the upcoming summer school break. On May 24, 2017, the court granted the schedule change for summer break to one week on and off for each parent. The dissolution court also granted Jeremy possession of the boat and authorized family members to transport the children. When Jeremy and his friends went to the home to retrieve the boat, Hope's friend Beth, with approval from Hope, stood in front of the boat with a gun in a holster.

The dissolution court appointed a guardian ad litem for the children. The guardian ad litem filed a report that recommended that the mother be named primary residential parent. The guardian ad litem further recommended that the parents engage in parallel co-parenting classes and that the father and children engage in family therapy with an experienced therapist. The guardian ad litem reported that all of the children mentioned to her that their father quickly grows angry and frequently yells. According to the

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guardian ad litem, the children were afraid of their father.

Trial began October 19, 2017. We recount some of the trial testimony of Hope, Jeremy, and witness Jodi Durr.

Hope Evarts Trial Testimony

During trial, Hope Evarts testified that she no longer calls Jeremy by his first name, but will call him "Evarts" or "Lucius." RP (Oct. 19, 2017) at 69. During trial, she generally addressed Jeremy as "Mr. Evarts," although she sometimes slipped into saying Jeremy. Hope explained she does not wish to call him the name she called him during those times he assaulted her.

Hope Evarts testified at trial that she primarily cares for the children, sets the family schedule, and orchestrates Jeremy's schedule. The oldest child, a daughter, receives professional counseling for anxiety. Recently the daughter started fires and stole food. While in a hotel room, Jeremy asked Mary, a pseudonym, for a back rub as he sat in his underwear on the bed. On another occasion and six times within a day, Jeremy entered Mary's room while she dressed despite her protests. Hope reported Jeremy's conduct to Child Protective Services, but the agency took no action.

Hope Evarts averred that she endured frequent violence from Jeremy. Jeremy particularly enjoyed strangling her. After an incident, she would nap or retire to bed for the night. She never reported the brutality to law enforcement. Jeremy last attacked

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Hope on June 27, 2016, and their youngest son viewed, through a window, the assault. We do not know if this last incident involved Hope's cell phone.


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