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Acton v. Acton

Supreme Court of Wyoming

December 19, 2017

KIMBERLY A. ACTON, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
KURT W. ACTON, Appellee (Defendant).

         Appeal from the District Court of Park County The Honorable Steven R. Cranfill, Judge

         Representing Appellant:

          Alex H. Sitz III of Meinecke & Sitz, LLC, Cody, WY

         Representing Appellee:

          Christopher J. King of Greear Clark King, P.C., Worland, WY

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

          HILL, Justice.

         [¶1] Appellant, Kimberly A. Acton (Wife), argues that the district court erred when it required her to return certain personal property to Appellee, Kurt A. Acton (Husband). By allowing Husband to recover property after the divorce decree's 90-day deadline, Wife argues that the district court improperly modified a property settlement without the required written agreement. We will affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶2] Did the district court have authority to modify the parties' Decree of Divorce?

         FACTS

         [¶3] Husband and Wife divorced in October of 2014. Their divorce decree incorporated a settlement. The settlement agreement provided: "[n]o modification or waiver of any of the terms of the Agreement shall be valid unless in writing[.]" As part of the agreement, the settlement awarded Wife possession of the marital home. However, also as part of the agreement, Husband retained certain personal property located within the home but per the agreement, must have retrieved the property within 90 days, or forfeit it to Wife. At least some of the personal property awarded to Husband was not retrieved within the 90-day window.

         [¶4]This matter began in June of 2016, when Husband filed a motion for order to show cause why Wife should not be held in contempt of court for refusing to allow Husband to retrieve the aforementioned personal property. Wife answered and retorted that Husband should be held in contempt for, among other things, not paying alimony.

         [¶5] A hearing was held on Husband's motion, whereafter the district court entered an order in February of 2017. The court found neither party to have willfully violated the divorce decree, and also found that "although the parties did not enter a written agreement to extend the 90-day period required of [Husband] to retrieve the personal property as set forth in their divorce agreement, … [Wife] did extend that 90 day period several times." The judge ordered Wife to turn over all personal property belonging to Husband.

         [¶6] Wife filed a timely appeal.

         STANDARD ...


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