Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Retirement Can be Valued at Time of Separation

Donnelly v. Donnelly, 2013 UT App 84 Utah Court of Appeals April 4, 2013

In a temporary order the trial court ordered Father pay child support, alimony, and the childrens medical expenses.  Mother relocated and Father bore the costs of visiting the children.

At trial, the court entered a decree awarding lower child support and alimony amounts, but did not make the amounts retroactive.  After the trial, Mother moved to divide retirement.  The court divided the retirement with value at the time of separation.  The Court also denied Fathers motion for credit towards his arrearage for the expenses he incurred to visit the children.   Father appeals the alimony award and expenses incurred for parent-time.  Mother appeals the valuation date of the retirement.

As to alimony, Father failed to preserve the pretrial order of alimony.  Father made several arguments about Wifes diminished need while living with family and her income from gifts from family.  The Court of Appeals found that the trial court took note of gifts when making the alimony award and the award was not an abuse of discretion.

As to reimbursement of transportation costs for Fathers parent-time, the Court of Appeals found no statutory authority for the requested reimbursement and it was not an abuse of discretion to deny the reimbursement because Father failed to raise the issue at trial and made no motion to reopen evidence to address that issue.

As to valuation of the retirement, the Court found that generally retirements are valued at the time of the decree, however, when significant time (in this case 5 years) passes between the separation and Decree, it is not an abuse of discretion to value it at the time of separation.

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