Woman vows to stay in home lost in divorce COUNTYWIDE

November 05, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A Westminster bank teller and her teen-age daughter will lose their home tomorrow unless a Carroll Circuit judge agrees to block a divorce order granted to the woman's husband last month.

"I'm not going to leave," said Kathleen M. Schaeffer, whose husband was given possession of the Sullivan Road marital home, in which she has continued to live. "They're going to have to physically remove me."

Mrs. Schaeffer -- she refuses to begin using her maiden name, Murphy, until her divorce proceedings are final -- has filed a motion to change Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck's Oct. 9 order that granted Lloyd N. Schaeffer a divorce.

As recently as Monday, Mr. Schaeffer was going to allow his ex-wife, their 5-year-old son and Mrs. Schaeffer's 13-year-old daughter to live at the family home at least until Judge Beck holds a hearing on Dec. 16 to consider modifying his divorce decree.

But E. David Silverberg, Mr. Schaeffer's attorney, wrote in a letter dated Tuesday that his client "is making demand that Miss Murphy vacate the family home by Friday, Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. All family use personal property contained in the family home must remain. . . . Most importantly, the custody of [Matthew, the couple's 5-year-old son] must be transferred."

The letter prompted Elwood E. Swam, Mrs. Schaeffer's attorney, to file a motion yesterday to stay Judge Beck's divorce ruling until after the Dec. 16 hearing. As of last night, Judge Beck had not signed the stay.

Mrs. Schaeffer is reeling from her divorce from one of the owners of Schaeffer Lumber Co. in Westminster, a company that posts sales of more than $1 million a year. Mr. Schaeffer, whose annual salary during the couple's seven-year marriage ranged from $45,000 to more than $200,000, also owns other assets, including a stock portfolio valued at $51,000, according to court filings in the divorce case.

Judge Beck granted Mr. Schaeffer the divorce but didn't specify any grounds. He awarded custody of Matthew to Mr. Schaeffer and three years' occupancy -- from the time of their separation -- of the $300,000 family home on Sullivan Road to Mrs. Schaeffer.

And while Mr. Schaeffer was ordered to pay temporary alimony of $800 a month, the judge also ordered Mrs. Schaeffer, who earns $7 an hour as a teller at Frederick County National Bank, to pay Mr. Schaeffer $315 a month in child support.

Should the judge decline to stay his order, Mrs. Schaeffer will be told to leave the family home. Yesterday, she vowed not to leave voluntarily, noting that both her teen-age daughter and the couple's son will be home all day on a school holiday.

According to Mr. Silverberg's letter -- written a day before an article describing the divorce was published in The Sun -- his client's "initial inclination was not to change the status quo, pending a prompt hearing. . . . However, Dec. 16 is too long a time to wait to implement the court's judgment."

Mr. Silverberg declined to comment yesterday, as did Mr. Swam.

In his motion for a stay of Judge Beck's divorce ruling, Mr. Swam calls Mr. Schaeffer's request "unwarranted in that [he] is presently residing in a home of which he is a partial owner. . . . No great hardship will be foisted upon [Mr. Schaeffer] if the parties simply retain the status quo until a final resolution in this matter."

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