Thursday, May 14, 2009

Divorce: Trial Court’s Failure to Make Adequate Findings on Property and Attorney Fees Results in Remand.

Jensen v. Jensen, UT App. 1, (Utah Court of Appeals, January 2, 2009).

Trial Court awarded Wife half of the increase in value of Husband’s premarital business interest.  The Court also awarded Wife attorney fees.  Husband appealed.  The Utah Court of Appeals reversed and remand finding, that the trial court failed to make an express finding of ownership of the business (required by Stonhocker); second, the court had erred when it awarded wife 50% of the total business’ increase in value, since Husband only owned 50% of the business the Court could only award Wife half of his 50% share of the increase in value, instead; third, however, since the business was separate property and because wife had not made any significant specific contribution specific to the business (i.e. did not assist in running the business) that she was not entitled to any portion of the increase.

As to attorneys fees, the court failed to make proper findings regarding Wife’s need, Husband’s ability to pay, and Reasonableness of the fees, as required by Stonehocker.  As such the award of fees was also reversed and remanded.

Full Decision available at

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