Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Borne v. Reynold

Supreme Court of Delaware

August 27, 2019

DONALD J. BORNE [1], Petitioner Below, Appellant,
v.
BETTY H. REYNOLD, Respondent Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: June 28, 2019

          Court Below-Family Court of the State of Delaware, File No. CS94-03107 Pet. No. 03-00932

          Before STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and VAUGHN, Justices.

          ORDER

          Karen L. Valihura Justice

         After careful consideration of the parties' briefs and the record on appeal, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) Donald J. Borne appeals the Family Court's January 9, 2019 order that resolved several outstanding motions filed by Borne and his ex-wife, Betty H. Reynold. The Family Court: (i) determined the fraction to be used to calculate Borne's and Reynold's respective shares of each other's military pensions; (ii) concluded that Reynold owed Borne $47, 900.40 in military pension arrears, retroactive to June 1, 2012; (iii) granted Reynold's motion to offset the arrearage by sums Borne owed to Reynold under a prior Family Court order; and (iv) denied various other motions filed by Borne, finding them to be "filings seek[ing] to re-litigate previously settled matters that are irrelevant to the issues [pending]."

         (2) On appeal, Borne argues that the Family Court: (i) abused its discretion in granting Reynold's motion to offset; (ii) improperly calculated the amount of Reynold's pension due to him; and (iii) erred in awarding Reynold attorneys' fees. We find no merit to Borne's arguments and affirm.

         (3) The parties were married on April 6, 1981, and divorced on August 6, 2003. The Family Court entered an order related to the parties' ancillary proceedings on April 4, 2006 ("the Ancillary Order"). Under the Ancillary Order, the parties' respective military pensions were to be divided pursuant to the Cooper formula with a 50% multiplier. [2] The Ancillary Order also directed that the parties' former marital home and farm property be listed for sale. Eventually, the Family Court entered an order evicting Borne from the property in order to implement the Ancillary Order and we affirmed the court's order.[3]

         (4) Following the sale of the property, the Family Court entered an order dated February 17, 2009, itemizing the funds Borne owed to Reynold and determining that Borne's debt to Reynold exceeded Borne's share of the net proceeds of the sale by the amount of $56, 071.08 ("the 2009 Order"). Accordingly, the court entered judgment for Reynold and against Borne in that amount, together with interest at the legal rate commencing February 17, 2009 ("the Judgment").[4]Borne did not appeal the 2009 Order or the Judgment.

         (5) In 2013, Borne filed a petition for rule to show cause for contempt, fraud, and trespass against Reynold in an effort to challenge the 2009 Order and to collect his share of Reynold's military pension. The Family Court dismissed the petition, finding it to be an attempt to re-litigate matters previously decided by the court. The court noted it was "continuing to give [Borne] a chance to end his relentless pursuit of frivolous litigation and harassment of [Reynold]." Borne next filed a corrected rule to show cause seeking relief on the same grounds. The Family Court found that the bulk of the rule to show cause-Borne's complaints unrelated to his claim to Reynold's military pension-was "without merit and an attempt to re-litigate matters previously decided" and that Borne's claim to Reynold's military pension failed because Borne had not filed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order ("QDRO") as required by the Ancillary Order. Accordingly, the Family Court dismissed the corrected rule to show cause and advised Borne to seek the assistance of an attorney to aid him in drafting the QDRO and submit it to the military to pursue his claim for a portion of Reynold's military benefits.

         (6) On January 12, 2017, Borne filed a motion to compel Reynold to produce documentation necessary to prepare a QDRO so that Borne could receive his share of Reynold's military pension. Reynold responded, contesting Borne's method of calculating her military service, and filed a motion to offset any pension benefits due Borne from the Judgment, which remained largely unpaid. Because there was some confusion as to the period of Reynold's service that was used to calculate her pension benefit, the parties conferred with military personnel in November of 2017. The military experts determined the fraction to be used in the Cooper formula for Reynold was 162/268. After the conference, counsel for Borne moved to withdraw, noting that Borne had "made it clear that he [intended to take] a position contrary to the advice of counsel." The Family Court held an evidentiary hearing on October 15, 2018.

         (7) After filing the January 12, 2017 motion to compel and without the assistance of counsel, Borne also filed (i) a motion for order to show cause for contempt and fraud; (ii) another motion to compel; (iii) a motion for satisfaction of child support; (iii) a motion for discovery for information used in Borne's related Superior Court criminal case; and (iv) a memorandum in support of fraud. All of the filings alleged fraud on Reynold's part in connection with the parties' property division.

         (8) The Family Court issued its written decision on January 9, 2019. The Family Court: (i) determined that the fraction representing Reynold's time of military service during the marriage for the purpose of applying the Cooper formula was 162/268 and that Borne is entitled to $821.44 per month of Reynold's pension, less her Veterans Affairs ("VA") waiver;[5] (ii) determined that the fraction representing Borne's time of military service during the marriage for the purpose of applying the Cooper formula was 3913/4734 and that Reynold will be entitled to 41.33% of Borne's monthly pension payment once he begins to receive benefits; (iii) found Reynold owes Borne $47, 900.40 in military pensions arrears, retroactive to her date of retirement, June 1, 2012; (iv) granted Reynold's motion to offset; (v) denied Borne's petition for order to show cause for contempt and fraud, motion to compel, motion for satisfaction of child support, motion for discovery, and memorandum in support of fraud; and (vi) awarded Reynold attorneys' fees and costs. This appeal followed.

         (9) Our standard of review of a decision of the Family Court extends to a review of the facts and law, as well as the inferences and deductions made by the trial judge.[6] We have the duty to review the sufficiency of the evidence and to test the propriety of the trial court's conclusions.[7] Findings of fact will not be disturbed on appeal unless they are determined to be clearly erroneous.[8] We will not substitute ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.