Ky Court of Appeals Published Opinion - Denial of Trial Continuance Reversed

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BOUVETTE V. BOUVETTE

The Appellate Court held the Trial Court abused its discretion by denying Appellant’s motion for a continuance of a four hour trial on financial matters. The Court used the Snodgrass factors to determine the denial was an abuse of discretion. The inconvenience a continuance would case the opposing party was minimal, and the inconvenience to the Court was unknown. The delays were not planned or purposeful. Appellant’s first request for a continuance was because she was ill and her attorneys withdrew. Her second request for a continuance was based on severe depression and supported by a letter from her Psychiatrist. Furthermore, Appellant attempted to obtain counsel, but did not have money for a retainer readily available. She filed motions in an attempt to obtain the funds necessary to retain an attorney, but there was a delay in obtaining the funds. The Court was aware of her efforts to obtain counsel, but nonetheless proceeded with the trial on financial matters. The case was complex including issues of dissipation of the marital assets and nonmarital tracing. Appellant was unable to present evidence and participate in the litigation in a meaningful way. She was identifiably prejudiced by the Court’s denial of her motion. Therefore, her request for a continuance should have been granted.

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