Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Divorce: Failure to Supply Transcript= No Appellate Review, AND Separate Property with Appreciation Thereon Should be Awarded to its Owner

Thompson v. Thompson, UT App. 10, (Utah Court of Appeals, April 16, 2009).

Husband appealed trail court’s equitable division of premarital 401(k) and premarital portion invested in the home.

The Utah Court of Appeals first laid out the procedure for property distribution: (1) the court must categorize the asset (is it marital or separate property?); (2) if the property is separate property, the property and the appreciation is awarded to the owner unless the other party meets one of the exceptions (the exceptions are: enhancement, maintenance, or protection of asset, (b) commingling, (c) to obtain a just and equitable result); (3) if it is a marital property each spouse receives a roughly equal share. The court should detail the steps it took in making the distribution.

Home—yet again the Court was deprived of the opportunity to make a decision on this issue be because Husband failed to provide a transcript. Affirmed on this issue.

401(k)—Like other separate property, if a retirement account is separate property it should be awarded to the owner with appreciation thereon. Therefore, the Court Reversed and Remanded this issue to determine the appreciation on the separate property and ordered the trial court to award the premarital contribution with its appreciation to Husband.

Full Decision available at http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/appopin/thompson041609.pdf

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