Romano v. Romano, 87-74

Decision Date01 April 1975
Docket NumberNo. 87-74,87-74
Citation133 Vt. 314,340 A.2d 63
PartiesLorine C. ROMANO v. John C. ROMANO.
CourtVermont Supreme Court

Sullivan & McCaffrey, Rutland, for plaintiff.

John C. Romano, pro se.


BARNEY, Chief Justice.

In response to modification petitions from both plaintiff-wife and defendant-husband, a hearing was had below to review the custody and support order in their 1973 divorce case. The divorce had been granted without any contest by the defendant. The order in question was not based on any stipulation. As a result of the review, the defendant's requests for modification were denied and the monthly support payment was increased to $500.00. The defendant appeals.

At the time of the divorce and subsequent to it, the defendant was employed at a salary sufficient to comply with a monthly support order for the children of $435.00. His wife had been awarded the family house and custody of the four minor children, then ranging in age from about seven to twelve years.

The defendant had also embarked in a program of acquiring a legal education outside of his employment house, which he has more than half completed. It is his expressed intention and desire to cease work to complete his legal education so that he may sooner embark on his new profession. This will inevitably make it impossible for him to comply with either the present or the previous support order.

Two differently constituted trial courts have, at different times, passed on the defendant's request that he be excused from the required support obligation in order to finish his legal studies. Both have found that making such a drastic change in his earning powers, in the face of his duty to provide for his children, would jeopardize the welfare of those children, and could not be accepted as a good faith change. The existence of facts indicating a deliberate sacrificing of income in order to reduce a support obligation is condemnable. Miller v. Miller, 124 Vt. 76, 81, 197 A.2d 488 (1963). Such a determination by the trial courts is peculiarly within their responsibility and is entitled to great, if not controlling, weight.

The defendant counters this by contending that if the house and custody of the children were returned to him he would be entirely able to carry out his responsibilities to his children, without having to give up his dream of becoming a lawyer. The responsibilities of begetting a family many times raise havoc with dreams. Nevertheless, the duty persists, with full authority in the State to enforce it. See Beaudry v. Beaudry, 132 Vt. 53, 312 A.2d 922 (1973).

Moreover, it is the function of the trial court to render the decisions as to the measure and manner of implementing that duty of support. That judgment is seldom easy or simple, since it usually involves the apportioning of inadequate resources among constantly increasing needs. But it is for the trial court to make, to be disturbed or remanded by this Court only in the presence of legal error or the absence of...

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11 cases
  • Little v. Little, CV-98-0305-PR
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • 19 Marzo 1999
    ...dreams. Nevertheless, the duty [to support one's children] persists, with full authority in the State to enforce it." Romano v. Romano, 133 Vt. 314, 340 A.2d 63, 64 (1975). We therefore vacate the opinion of the court of appeals and affirm the decision of the trial THOMAS A. ZLAKET, Chief J......
  • Wolcott v. Wolcott, 9308
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • 5 Marzo 1987
    ...havoc with dreams. Nevertheless, the duty [to support] persists, with full authority in the State to enforce it." Romano v. Romano, 133 Vt. 314, 316, 340 A.2d 63, 64 (1975). Based upon our review of the record we conclude that the decision of the trial court does not constitute an abuse of ......
  • Colm v. Colm, 110-78
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 2 Octubre 1979
    ...or may perhaps find it to be deliberately contrived. Harrigan v. Harrigan, 135 Vt. 249, 251, 373 A.2d 550 (1977); Romano v. Romano, 133 Vt. 314, 315-16, 340 A.2d 63 (1975). There is no doubt that should the record demonstrate an unsupportable result, this Court is justified in remanding for......
  • Roya v. Roya, 83-118
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 29 Marzo 1985
    ...payments); Field v. Field, 139 Vt. 242, 244, 427 A.2d 350, 352 (1981) (discretion regarding awards of alimony); Romano v. Romano, 133 Vt. 314, 316, 340 A.2d 63, 64 (1975) (discretion regarding measure and manner of implementing duty of In Vermont, the factors to be considered by trial court......
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