MILLER, P. J., DOYLE, P. J., and REESE, J.
Borotkanics appeals from a court order finding him in
contempt of his divorce decree. He contends that the trial court
impermissibly modified the divorce decree and improperly
awarded attorney fees and litigation expenses. For the
reasons set forth, infra, we affirm in part, reverse in part,
vacate in part, and remand this case with direction.
record shows the following undisputed facts. Borotkanics and
his former wife, Theresa Humphrey, divorced in November 2012.
The final divorce decree incorporated a settlement agreement
that had been executed by the parties. In March 2016,
Humphrey filed a petition for contempt, asserting that
Borotkanics had failed to comply with the following real
property division provision of the settlement agreement:
[Borotkanics] shall retain the marital home located [on]
James Ridge Lane, Stockbridge, Georgia and the property
located [on] Mount Tabor Church Road, Dallas, Georgia.
[Humphrey] agrees to execute a Quit Claim Deed to
[Borotkanics] for each property[.] . . . [Borotkanics] shall
refinance both marital properties into his own name and thus
remov[e] [Humphrey's] name from the mortgages before
February 16, 2013.
to Humphrey, Borotkanics failed to refinance the mortgage on
either property despite his ability to do so, as evidenced by
the fact that he had purchased other properties in 2013,
after the divorce decree was final. Humphrey asked the trial
court to find Borotkanics in wilful contempt of the divorce
decree and to incarcerate him in the county jail until he
purged himself from his contemptuous conduct. She also sought
attorney fees and litigation expenses.
trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing, then entered an
order finding Borotkanics in wilful contempt. The court ruled
[Borotkanics] may purge himself from this contemptuous
conduct by immediately placing the real property [on James
Ridge Lane, Stockbridge] on the market for sale.
[Borotkanics] is to allow [Humphrey] by and through her
counsel of record . . . to select a certified real estate
broker. The real estate broker will appraise the property . .
. and determine the list price of the property. . . . The
first offer made to [Borotkanics] for the purchase of said
property amounting to 95% of the list price will be accepted
by [Borotkanics]. If there is no offer made of 95% of the
list price within the first six (6) months of listing the
property for sale, the list price will be reduced by 10%.
trial court also ordered Borotkanics to "pay as a
sanction for contempt the sum of $3, 613.91 in attorney fees
and litigation expenses to [Humphrey] and $1, 000.00 to
[Humphrey's] attorney[.] This amount shall be paid from
the proceeds of the sale of the real property at the
closing." This appeal followed.
axiomatic that, on appellate review, we "must affirm a
trial court's adjudication of contempt so long as there
is 'any evidence' to support it." On the other
hand, this Court reviews a trial court's rulings on legal
issues de novo. With these guiding principles in mind, we
turn now to Borotkanics's specific claims of error.
an initial matter, Humphrey argues that, due to
Borotkanics's failure to provide this Court with a
transcript of the contempt hearing, we must assume that the
court's order was supported by evidence and, therefore,
affirm the order. We agree in part.
the factual issue of whether Borotkanics was in wilful
contempt of the settlement agreement, we must assume that the
evidence presented supported the trial court's conclusion
and affirm that finding.
contrast, as shown in Division 2, infra, the primary issues
on appeal are purely legal issues, i.e., whether the trial
court's order constituted a modification of the divorce
decree and, if so, whether the court was authorized to make
such a modification as a sanction for contempt under the
circumstances presented. Moreover, because the facts
necessary to conduct a de novo review of these legal issues
are undisputed and are part of the record, the absence of a
hearing transcript does not hamper our review.
Borotkanics contends that, because the divorce decree did not
require him to sell the marital home if he failed to comply
with his obligation to refinance the mortgage, the
court's order to sell that property ...