In Family Law, We Have Done It All

The Court of Appeals

Trial courts are entitled to broad discretion in dissolution proceedings. In re Marriage of Wright, 179 Wn. App. 257, 261, 319 P.3d 45 (2013). Because the trial court is in the best position to determine what is fair, its decisions will be reversed only if there has been a manifest abuse of discretion. In re Marriage of Muhammad, 153 Wn.2d 795, 803, 108 P.3d 779 (2005). A trial court abuses its discretion if its decisions are based on untenable grounds or untenable reasons. Id. This discretion applies to determinations regarding division of property, maintenance, and child support. Wright, 179 Wn. App. at 261 (property division); In re Marriage of Valente, 179 Wn. App. 817, 822, 320 P.3d 115 (2014) (maintenance); In re Marriage of Krieger, 147 Wn. App. 952, 959, 199 P.3d 450 (2008) (child support).

The Court of Appeals reviews a Trial Court’s findings of fact after a bench trial for substantial evidence.

An appellate court will review findings of fact entered after a bench trial for substantial evidence. In re Marriage of Wilson, 165 Wn. App. 333, 340, 267 P.3d 485 (2011). Substantial evidence exists when there is sufficient evidence to persuade a fair-minded, rational person of the finding’s truth. Id. The unchallenged findings of fact will be treated as verities on appeal. In re Marriage of Fiorito, 112 Wn. App. 657, 665, 50 P.3d 298 (2002).

The Court does not and will not substitute its judgment for the trial Court’s judgment, weigh the evidence, or evaluate witness credibility

In re The Marriage of Victor K. Cheng v. Julia A. Cheng, Division II, Court of Appeals, No 47397-1-II (November, 2016).

Authored by Wolfgang R. Anderson, Attorney at Law