Appeals court to rule in Schaeffer divorce Wife seeks stay of order to leave house

November 06, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals will decide whether a Westminster bank teller and her teen-age daughter can be forced out of their home late today.

Yesterday, Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. denied Kathleen M. Schaeffer's request to stay the order granting a divorce to Westminster businessman Lloyd N. Schaeffer. So Mrs. Schaeffer and her lawyer appealed her case to the state's second-highest court.

The appeal means Judge Beck no longer will consider the case.

But unless the appellate court grants an emergency stay before the end of business today, Judge Beck's order will remain in effect. It gives Mr. Schaeffer possession of the couple's Sullivan Road home and custody of their 5-year-old son.

If that order remains in effect, Mrs. Schaeffer and her 13-year-old daughter from a previous marriage will have to move out of the home by 5 p.m.

Chief Judge Alan M. Wilner of the Court of Special Appeals -- who would decide on the request either alone or with two other appellate judges -- had not ruled on Mrs. Schaeffer's request as of last night.

Judge Beck issued his divorce order Oct. 9. In the order, Mr. Schaeffer, an owner of the $1 million-a-year Schaeffer Lumber Co., was granted the divorce, although Judge Beck didn't specify any grounds. Mr. Schaeffer was also granted custody of the couple's son, Matthew, and three years' occupancy of the couple's $300,000 home.

While Mr. Schaeffer -- whose annual income over the past seven years has ranged from $45,000 to more than $200,000 -- was ordered to pay his ex-wife temporary alimony of $800 a month, the judge also ordered Mrs. Schaeffer to pay Mr. Schaeffer $315 a month in child support.

Mrs. Schaeffer says she earns $7.90 an hour at the bank and cannot afford to pay the child support, her legal fees and another $10,700 the court ordered her to pay her former husband before the couple's joint assets are divided.

As recently as Monday, Mr. Schaeffer and his attorneys were going to allow Mrs. Schaeffer and her daughter to live in the home until after Judge Beck considered Mrs. Schaeffer's motion to amend the divorce order on Dec. 16.

But on Monday, E. David Silverberg, one of Mr. Schaeffer's attorneys, wrote a letter to Mrs. Schaeffer's attorney, Elwood E. Swam, indicating that Mr. Schaeffer wished to enforce the terms of the divorce order.

In response, Mr. Swam filed the motion Wednesday to stay Judge Beck's order.

Arguing against Mrs. Schaeffer's motion, Mr. Silverberg said asking Mrs. Schaeffer to move out today wouldn't "work a hardship on" her.

Mr. Silverberg also said, in his answer to Mr. Swam's motion, that Mrs. Schaeffer "has taken action which may cause the child to suffer embarrassment, contempt or ridicule by his peers. Specifically, [she] has taken her case to the press."

He also wrote in his answer that Mrs. Schaeffer, by talking to a Sun reporter, "has amply demonstrated that her sole concern is for own selfish interests, that she cannot instill appropriate values in the child and that she is a poor role model for him."

After Judge Beck denied to stay the Oct. 9 divorce order, Mrs. Schaeffer withdrew her motion to amend the divorce and filed her appeal.

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