Revisiting the Schiesz Case

I have egg on my face. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals has withdrawn its opinion in the Schiesz case I told you about in February and substituted a new opinion. No problem there. But in reviewing the revised opinion, I realized that I misread its predecessor. I apologize.

I told you that the parties had divorced in January of 2005. I should have said they were already divorced and that the trial court ruled on postjudgment issues in 2005.

Now let’s get to the appeals court’s revised opinion in Schiesz v. Schiesz, Case No. 2041024 (Ala Civ. App. May 5, 2006). The appeals court changed its ruling on the timeliness of the appeal because there was an agreement from the parties that had been omitted from the record. Once the trial court granted the wife’s motion to supplement the record by including the agreement, the appeals court had before it an agreement extending the time and therefore deemed it had jurisdiction.

The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s order requiring the husband to pay a child support arrearage and an alimony arrearage. In a move that’s rare these days, the appeals court also ordered the husband to pay the wife a $2,000 attorney’s fee on appeal. In its opinion, the appeals court cited evidence from the record indicating that:

  • The husband had the ability to earn more income but manipulated a partnership agreement with his new wife to reduce his income.
  • The husband missed several months of alimony and child support payments and allowed them to remain delinquent even when he received large cash payments he could have used to get current.
  • Each month without fail, the husband made the maximum contribution to his 401(k) plan, even while paying no child support or alimony.
  • The husband’s apparent scheming and manipulation could have reduced his credibility in the eyes of the court, giving the trial court reason to accord more weight to the wife’s testimony than to that of the husband.

5 comments

  1. Keith says:

    I was mandated to take a DNA test and found to be the father of a 17 year old girl. The
    mother never informed me of the childs existence, even though this was an adulterous
    affair on both sides she divorced when the child was three years old and still did
    not inform me. The ex-husband actually paid support. Is there any case law that would
    assist in my defense. I am in the state of Tennessee.

  2. Lee Borden says:

    Are you trying to escape the responsibility to pay child support? If so, give it up. You’re daddy, and you’re paying. If you’re trying to accomplish some other goal, please clarify.

  3. Mary says:

    Hey Lee, before you pass judgment on this guy are you forgetting that a child;
    born during the course of a marriage is presumed to be the father of that child?

    For 17 years that child had a father that she presumed rightfully so, was her
    dad. Now the mother after 17 years comes up and wants to bastardize the child?
    What’s fair about that? In fact there are many opinions that have held the
    parent who has been adjudicated the father (and in this case you must assume the
    ex husband was adjudicated the father at the time of the divorce since he paid
    child support) as the father regardless of any DNA test – Alabama courts have
    many times refused to bastardize a child.

    I suspect that there is more to this story – before you make the knee jerk
    statement that “he’s the dad and he must pay” perhaps you should consider the
    untold history of this case which is evident that there was a child born to
    this woman while she was married to another man – divorced him three years
    later and if he paid child support, paternity of that child was adjudicated
    then. I would like to find out more about how the guy got ordered to do a
    DNA test, what evidence was raised by the ex husband that challenged paternity
    under the statute, lots more questions before you jump to any assumption.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I had the unpleasant experience of working with Bill Schiesz. The courtroom isn’t the only place where he has difficulty with the truth. It is also a wonder that he and his employers haven’t been sued multiple times when he exagerates claims concerning financial products.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have also worked with Bill Schiesz, and found that he was alwasys upfront and honest. It was a great breath of fresh air to finally have met and worked with someone who knows what he’s doing. I only have great recommendations for him. In fact, I have recommended him to my friends.

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