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In re the Marriage of Martin.

2021 COA 101. No. 20CA0835.  Postjudgment Relief—CRCP 16.2(e)(10)—Domestic Relations Disclosures—Attorney Fees.

July 22, 2021

The parties entered into a separation agreement that divided their marital property. The district court incorporated the agreement into the dissolution decree. Husband later moved for postjudgment relief, alleging that he was entitled to proceeds from a post-decree sale of the Stagecoach property (property). Wife moved to dismiss husband’s motion, asserting that the parties did not own the property at dissolution, so the sale proceeds were not a marital asset. The court denied wife’s motion and, after a hearing, found that the property proceeds were a marital asset. It also found that certain retirement assets, which were not mentioned in husband’s postjudgment motion but were raised at the hearing, had been overlooked at dissolution. Therefore, the court reopened the property division under CRCP 16.2(e)(10), and after another hearing, it divided the omitted assets equally and awarded husband prejudgment interest because of wife’s wrongful withholding of the property sale proceeds. The court also awarded husband attorney fees.

On appeal, wife argued that the district court erred by reopening the property division and allocating the property and the IRA. CRCP 16.2(e)(10) allows for the reallocation of marital property where there is an allegation that either party failed to satisfy the CRCP 16.2 disclosure requirements before entering into a separation agreement that was incorporated into their dissolution decree. CRCP 16.2 requires a party to disclose certain specific items and generally all information that is material to resolving the case. Here, as to the property, during the marriage husband participated in an alleged venture with wife and her parents to purchase, transfer ownership of, improve, and ultimately sell the property. During the dissolution proceedings, neither party disclosed an interest in the property, which was still owned by wife’s parents’ trust at that time. The property was not addressed or distributed in the parties’ separation agreement. At the time of dissolution, husband knew all the information supporting his joint venture claim and made no claim that wife failed to disclose any relevant documents. Husband also did not allege any CRCP 16.2(e) disclosure violation as to any documents regarding the IRA and failed to allege in district court that the omission of the IRA materially affected the assets division. Accordingly, the district court erred by invoking the rule to reopen the property division to allocate the property proceeds and IRA.

Wife also contended that the district court erred by awarding husband attorney fees based on the parties’ relative financial circumstances at the time of the post-decree proceedings rather than at the time of the decree and by awarding husband fees for responding to her IRA argument. Here, the district court properly considered the parties’ economic circumstances as of the post-decree proceedings, but it erred by awarding husband fees for responding to wife’s IRA argument.

The portion of the order reopening the dissolution decree’s property division and allocating the omitted property sale proceeds and IRA was reversed. The portion of the order awarding attorney fees to husband was affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case was remanded with instructions for the district court to reconsider the fee award and to determine husband’s request for his appellate fees.

Official Colorado Court of Appeals proceedings can be found at the Colorado Court of Appeals website.

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