C.A. Rejects Appeal of Multi-Decade Payment Schedule
Opinion Says Ex-Wife’s Arithmetic Is Off, Stresses That Order for Payment by Patent Lawyer of $300 Per
Month to Satisfy $305,635.95 Debt Is Interim, Noting That Ex-Husband’s Active Bar Status Might Be Restored
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Above is from the State Bar website, reflecting the bar status of Troy Michael Schmelzer. The Court of Appeal for this district on Monday affirmed a payment schedule for Schmelzer to catch up on past-due support payments.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge did not abuse her discretion in ordering that arrearages in child, spousal and medical support be paid at a level that, according to the ex-wife, would take her former spouse 254 years and seven months to satisfy, the Court of Appeal for this district held Monday.
Presiding Justice Maria E. Stratton wrote the unpublished opinion which affirms an order by Judge Wendy L. Wilcox.
She started out by correcting the figures used by the appellant, Stephanie Mona. The ex-wife made her calculation based on $100 per month being paid by her former husband, attorney Troy Schmelzer, Stratton noted, pointing out:
“The court ordered $100 monthly payment towards the arrears for child support, spousal support, and unreimbursed medical expenses each, totaling $300 per month towards arrears.”
That means it would take 84 years and 11 months to satisfy the $305,635.95 debt.
Stratton did not separately deal with Mona’s calculation that, at $100 per month, it would take 202 years to pay the $243,000 owed for child support.
She emphasized that Wilcox’s order was an interim one. Schmelzer on Feb. 28, 2019, lost his job as a partner at Baker Hostetler, where he was making $707,136 per year, and was currently unable to work as an attorney because he has been placed by the State Bar on inactive status owing to the arrearages in support payments, impeding his ability to practice in Arizona where he has a license, but one that is in jeopardy in light of the arrearages.
Stratton quoted Wilcox as telling Mona at an Oct. 29, 2021 hearing that her order “is based on where we are today,” adding that Schmelzer is and “trying to clear up” problems with his law licenses “so he can go and get a job that’s actually going to pay him something that is going to pay you back faster.” Wilcox said she expected the financial situation to change once the ex-husband “gets his licenses in order” and that “this issue shall be revisited” then.
Schmelzer did regain active State Bar status on March 10, 2022, but was again placed on inactive status on Jan. 28 of this year.
Income, Expense Declarations
The presiding justice noted that Wilcox had advised the parties that support orders would be predicated on income and expense (“I&E”) declarations. Stratton said:
“[W]e are precluded from making a determination as to whether the trial court erred by setting the arrearages payment amount to $300 a month, because Stephanie did not include a single I&E declaration filed by her or Troy, nor the reporter’s transcript of the October 21, 2021 when the court made its determination….Stephanie’s failure to include the I&E declarations in the appellate record is fatal to her appeal.”
Aside from dealing with the arrearages, Wilcox ordered., based on Schmelzer’s changed financial circumstances, that child support payment be lowered, prospectively, from $10,115.00 per month to $296 per month, and that spousal support, which had been set at $6,852 per month, be terminated. That order was not challenged on appeal.
However, on May 5, Mona filed a request for order in the Superior Court, terming the lowering of child support and elimination of spousal support to be “absurd and unjust.”
Schmelzer is currently practicing patent law in Phoenix.
Stratton’s opinion came in Mona v. Schmelzer, B317609.
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