Courts are empowered to permit parties to amend pleadings after trial, even after judgment, to add claims, defenses, and counterclaims, as long as the proposed addition of the pleadings includes matters expressly or impliedly tried with consent of the parties.
In a custody case that was filed by the father, the court granted the mother's motion to amend her pleadings. The court awarded the mother custody, separate maintenance, and attorney fees. The court awarded the father visitation. The father appealed, stating that the court improperly permitted the mother to amend the pleadings.
Did the trial court improperly permit the mother to amend her pleadings because she did not request affirmative relief for separate maintenance, child support, or attorney's fees in her pretrial pleadings?
Yes and No.
The court affirmed the custody judgment, but reversed the separate maintenance award. The case was remanded on the issue of child support, counsel fees, and visitation.