Friday, September 17, 2010

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Trial Court has Discretion to Determine the Weight of the Evidence

Richins v. Richins, 2010 UT App. 253, (Memorandum Decision, Utah Court of Appeals September 16, 2010).

Trial Court determined wife’s income based on a loan application The Court of Appeals determined that the trial court has discretion in assigning weight to various pieces of evidence.  In this case, the trial court gave more weight to the 2004 loan application (which on cross, Wife testified that she agreed with everything in the application), than to either a 2003 loan application in which Wife listed a lower income and her handwritten unsigned, and undated document created by Wife in anticipation of litigation.  The trial court has discretion to determine the weight of the evidence, and can only be overturned if it is clearly erroneous, the Court of Appeals Affirmed the trial court’s findings; particularly in light of the trial court’s additional findings that Wife had repeated lied to get what she wanted.

The Court additionally found that dividing the marital estate exactly in half meets the requirement that property distribution be equitable.

Lastly, because Husband was awarded attorney fees at trial and because he prevailed on appeal, his request for attorney fees for the appeal was granted.


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