Monday, December 19, 2011

Summary 2011 WY 162

Summary of Decision December 19, 2011

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Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

Case Name:  Rosendahl v. Rosendahl

Citation:  2011 WY 162

Docket Number: S-11-0046


Appeal from the District Court of Lincoln County, The Honorable Dennis L. Sanderson, Judge

Representing Appellant (Defendant):  Michael Stulken, Green River, WY.

Representing Appellee (Plaintiff):  Eric F. Phillips, Rock Springs, WY.

Date of Decision:  December 19, 2011

Facts:  The parties married in 2002.  Wife (Appellee) brought children into the marriage from another relationship, and though the children lived with the parties during the marriage, Husband (Appellant) never adopted them.  The marriage did not produce any children.

Wife filed for divorce in 2009.  The court ordered Husband to reimburse Wife $45,000.00 for the mortgage debt, to be paid in monthly installments.  One-half of the orthodontia bill was to be paid by Husband, as were one-half of Wife’s attorney’s fees and costs.

Issues:  Husband raised five issues: 1) Whether the trial court abused its discretion in the distribution of the parties’ marital assets and the allocation of the parties’ marital debts; 2) Whether the trial court abused its discretion in the award of attorney fees to [Wife]; 3) Whether the trial court’s mandate that Husband is to pay for one-half of an orthodontia bill incurred for the benefit of the Wife’s children of a previous relationship is supported by the record; 4) Whether the trial court appropriately entered a final Judgment and Decree of Divorce; and 5) Whether the trial court erred by deciding [Husband’s] Motion to Amend Judgment and Decree of Divorce or, in the Alternative, Motion for New Trial on Limited Issues without a hearing.

Holdings:  The District Court was affirmed.  The district court did not abuse its discretion when it required Husband to pay $45,000.00 of the mortgage debt because the original refinance of the home was necessitated by Husband’s expenses, in part due to Husband being unemployed at the time of the refinance.  As to the home equity, it was within the district court’s discretion to award the entirety of the equity to Wife, as the home was her premarital asset.  Furthermore, the court’s mandate that Husband pay one-half of the orthodontia bill was entirely within the district court’s discretion.  Regarding attorney’s fees, the Court assumed the award was supported by the evidence.  The Court found that Husband’s W.R.C.P. 58 argument did not apply to the procedure employed by the district court in this instance, and finally, that no hearing was required on Husband’s post-judgment motion.  No sanctions apply.

J. Hill delivered the opinion for the court.

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