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Meiners v. Meiners

Supreme Court of Wyoming

August 2, 2016

ALEXANDRA MEINERS, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Theodore Meiners, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
COLLEEN M. MEINERS, Appellee (Defendant).

         Appeal from the District Court of Teton County The Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Matthew E. Turner of Mullikin, Larson & Swift LLC, Jackson, WY.

          Representing Appellee: James K. Lubing and Nathan D. Rectanus of Lubing Law Group, LLC, Jackson, WY. Argument by Mr. Rectanus.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          HILL, Justice.

         [¶1] This appeal arises out of an action by Alexandra Meiners, as personal representative of the Estate of Theodore Meiners, to enforce a divorce settlement agreement entered into between Theodore Meiners and his former wife Colleen Meiners. The district court granted summary judgment to Alexandra Meiners on some claims and to Colleen Meiners on other claims. After the district court certified its ruling as final pursuant to W.R.C.P. 54(b), Alexandra Meiners appealed the summary judgment ruling to this Court. We find the district court's summary judgment order was not properly certified as a final appealable order pursuant to W.R.C.P. 54(b) and dismiss Alexandra Meiners' appeal with directions on remand.

         ISSUE

         [¶2] We restate the dispositive issue on appeal as:

Whether the district court erred in certifying its summary judgment ruling as a final order pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure.

         FACTS

         [¶3] Theodore (Theo) Meiners and Colleen Meiners (collectively "the Meiners") married in 1989. They each had one child from prior relationships, and they had one child together who was born in 1989. In 2001, the Meiners separated, and in 2002 they executed a Child Custody and Property Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). The Divorce Agreement gave Colleen Meiners primary custody of the couple's child and Theo Meiners reasonable visitation. Theo Meiners was to pay child support in the amount of $375.00 per month until the child reached the age of majority in April 2007. The agreement specified that Theo Meiners would be entitled to all his personal property being stored in the garage of the couple's residence and that he would remove that property by January 23, 2002. With respect to the couple's real property, which consisted only of their residence, the Divorce Agreement provided:

The parties real property located at 25 Aspen Drive will be sold to Wife under the following terms and conditions:
a. The purchase price shall be one half the fair market value as determined by an independent appraiser agreed to by the parties, which has been determined to be $285, 000.00, less six percent (6%) sales commission, and less all outstanding taxes, mortgages and liens on the property;
b. Wife shall pay to Husband one half the net equity in the property as of August 30, 2001. Payment shall be due and payable when the property is sold or upon the emancipation of the parties' minor son, [AM].
c. There shall be no monthly payments, however the purchase price shall accrue interest at the rate of six percent (6%) simple interest per annum.
d. Wife shall receive as a credit toward the purchase price the sum of $2, 460.00 which represents back child support owed by Husband as of August 30, 2001.
e. Husband shall execute all documents necessary to effect a transfer of title and ownership to Wife, as her sole and separate property, as may be required by any governmental entity, financial institution, or lender;
f. Wife shall execute all documents necessary to protect Husband's security interest in the real property located at 25 Aspen Drive.

         [¶4] After executing the Divorce Agreement, the Meiners had second thoughts about divorcing and did not file the Divorce Agreement in district court, though a divorce complaint had already been filed with the court. Between 2001 and 2007, Theo Meiners resided part of the year in Alaska, where he had a heli-skiing business, and part of the year in Jackson with Colleen Meiners. In 2007, the district court notified the Meiners that their divorce complaint would be dismissed for lack of prosecution if no action was taken on the matter, and the Meiners then decided to proceed with their divorce. On July 20, 2007, the Divorce Agreement was filed with the court, and on that same day, the district court entered a Decree of Divorce.

         [¶5] After the divorce decree was entered in 2007, the Meiners continued to have a good relationship and live as they had prior to their divorce, with Theo Meiners residing part of the year in Alaska and part of the year in Jackson with Colleen Meiners. In 2010, the Meiners refinanced the residence at 25 Aspen Drive, executing the necessary documents as husband and wife. Neither ...


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