Jones v. Jones

In Jones v. Jones, 26 Va. App. 689, 694, 496 S.E.2d 150, 153 (1998), the trial court referred certain matters, including issues of custody and attorney's fees, to a commissioner in chancery. In his report, the commissioner recommended, inter alia, "that the parties have joint legal and physical custody of the children and [he] detailed precisely how the physical custody was to occur. He also recommended that husband pay $ 2,500 of wife's attorney's fees." Id. at 693, 496 S.E.2d at 152. The "husband filed exceptions to the custody and attorney's fee recommendations, and both were sustained without comment by the trial court." Id. Specifically, the trial court "granted husband primary physical custody of the children with 'liberal visitation' to wife" and "reduced the attorney's fees to be paid by husband from $ 2,500 to $ 1,000." Id. The Court found "nothing in the record showing the trial court found insufficient evidence to support the commissioner's recommendation" regarding joint custody. Id. at 695, 496 S.E.2d at 153. Concluding from "our review of the record that the trial court, for reasons not disclosed, simply preferred to make a different ruling" and "made no finding that the commissioner's report was unsupported by the evidence," the Court reversed and remanded the issues of custody and attorney's fees. Id.