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Carrithers v. Harrah

Court of Appeals of Virginia

September 2, 2014

ROY M. CARRITHERS
v.
KIMBERLY A. HARRAH

Page 403

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF NEWPORT NEWS. David F. Pugh, Judge.

Affirmed and remanded.

Blanche M. Garber (BMGLAW LLC, on briefs), for appellant.

Jeffrey F. Riddle (Cowardin, Kim, Smith, Anderson & Riddle, PLC, on brief), for appellee.

Present: Judges Kelsey, Beales and Decker.

OPINION

Page 404

[63 Va.App. 645] D. ARTHUR KELSEY, JUDGE

Roy M. Carrithers appeals an order from the circuit court rejecting on res judicata grounds his latest in a series of proceedings seeking to set aside a child support arrearage ordered in 2006. Carrithers also appeals the court's imposition of sanctions for abusing the litigation process. Finding no fault with the court's reasoning or result on either issue, we affirm.

I.

In 1993, the circuit court entered a divorce decree ending the marriage between Carrithers and Kimberly A. Harrah. One child was born during the marriage. Awarding custody of the child to Harrah, the circuit court ordered Carrithers to pay $325 per month in child support. The circuit court then transferred all further issues involving child custody and support to the juvenile and domestic relations district court (" JDR court" ). Carrithers never paid any of the court-ordered child support.

In 2006, the JDR court awarded Harrah $62,096.06 in child support arrearage plus 6% interest. Carrithers failed to make an appearance, and the JDR court entered a default judgment. In 2010, Carrithers filed a motion in the JDR court asserting that the default judgment should be vacated because of an alleged violation of the service of process requirements in Code § 16.1-278.18. This violation, Carrithers argued, deprived the court of personal jurisdiction and rendered its judgment void. The JDR court denied the motion, holding that it had continuing jurisdiction based upon the original divorce decree to enforce the support order.

Carrithers appealed to the circuit court seeking a de novo review of his motion to vacate. On March 29, 2011, the circuit [63 Va.App. 646] court entered an order holding that Harrah's service of process satisfied the requirements of Code § 16.1-278.18 and that the JDR court thus had personal jurisdiction over Carrithers for the entry of a child support arrearage. In a later, separate order, the circuit court awarded $5,825 in attorney fees to Harrah. Carrithers filed an appeal to our Court asserting that the circuit court misapplied Code § 16.1-278.18 and erroneously failed to vacate the 2006 JDR court arrearage order. That conclusion, Carrithers contended, meant that the circuit court also erred in awarding attorney fees.

In Carrithers v. Harrah, 60 Va.App. 69, 723 S.E.2d 638 (2012), we held that Carrithers had filed his notice of appeal within thirty days of the attorney fee award order but not ...


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