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An appellate court will not reverse a ruling reviewed under the abuse of discretion standard simply because it would have made a different ruling had it been sitting as trial judge. Instead, the real question is whether justice has not been done, and the judgment will be reversed only if there is a grave reason for doing so.
Appellee Anuradha Das was granted an absolute divorce on grounds of cruelty and excessively vicious conduct, as well as legal and residential custody of the parties' minor daughters, child support, use and possession of the family home and personalty, a monetary award, and attorney's fees. Appellant Vincent Das refused to relinquish the children's passports and fled the court's jurisdiction to India, taking with him one of the children. Once abroad, he played a shell game regarding his location, failing to notify the court, his counsel, and possibly even his father. Appellant's motion to vacate the judgment was denied, as was his motion to strike, but he refused the lower court's overtures to return for oral argument. Instead, he appealed the denials, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to vacate the order of default, and in granting the appellee an absolute divorce. Moreover, appellant argued that the trial court denied him due process by not granting a continuance of the divorce hearing.
The judgment of the trial court was affirmed, as there was no error or abuse of discretion in denying appellant-husband's motion to vacate the default order, not granting a continuance, or granting appellee wife an absolute divorce, as corroboration standard was met. The court noted that corroboration was sufficient if it lent substantial support to the complainant's testimony as to material and controlling facts. The court further noted that in this case, the appellant proved neither extrinsic fraud nor irregularity and he had unclean hands.