Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Divorce: Give the Court Sufficient Evidence. Otherwise, Your Award Could Be Overturned.

Leppert v. Leppert ---P.3d ---, 2009 UT App. 10, (Utah Court of Appeals, January 16, 2009).

The parties were awarded a bifurcated divorce in 2004. A temporary support order was in place from 2004 until 2006 when husband requested that the court modify the temporary order, which resulted in trial. The parties appealed on several grounds.
Wife appealed the trial court findings as to imputed income, alimony, division of property, and division of debt. Husband appealed the trial court's decision to separate the debts as to the date of separation instead of the date of divorce.
Imputation of Income: The Court relied on the trial court's extensive findings as to wife's employability and estimated hourly rate. Because of the findings, the Court chose not to disturb the trial court's order as to imputation of income.
As to alimony, division of personal property, royalty payments, and division of debt, the Court found that the trial court failed to make adequate findings. Because of the lack of findings, the Appellate Court reversed the awards and remanded the issues for further findings.
Attorney fees: The Court remanded the award and noted that courts must base and award of attorney fees on the need of the moving party, the ability of the other to pay, and the reasonableness of the requested amount. The Court also remanded the issue of attorney fees because of the lack of findings of the trial court.


Grant said...

New standard of review as to property interests. Trial court is afforded "considerable latitude" and is entitled to a presumption of validity.

Grant said...

New standard of review as to Alimony. Court of Appeals will uphold a trial court's determination of alimony "unless a clear and prejudicial abuse of discretion is demonstrated."


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