Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stipulation Will be Enforced Unless the Unfair or Unreasonable

Robinson v. Robinson, 2010 UT App. 96, (Utah Court of Appeals, April 22, 2010).

Husband and wife stipulated as to property division.  Husband would refinance a portion of the parties’ marital property and pay Wife from the proceeds.  Husband moved to set aside the stipulation because of mistake and impossibility, as he would not be able to obtain the loan because the property was not producing adequate income.  The trial court commissioner denied the motion to set aside and Husband appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court and found that at the time the parties signed the stipulation, Husband assumed the risk of not having enough information.  His failure to obtain the missing information is not a mutual mistake.  The Court also found that there was no unforeseen event to justify rescinding the contract for impossibility.

Husband also argued that the court never found that the stipulation was fair and reasonable. The Court finds that no such finding is required; a stipulation a trial court should enforce a stipulation unless the trial court finds that it is unfair or unreasonable.  Husband also appealed the denial of his request for an evidentiary hearing.  The Court found that there was not factual dispute and therefore no need for an evidentiary hearing.

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