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Pollock and Pollock

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-30-2013
Case #: A147846
Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147846.pdf

Family Law: It is an abuse of discretion for a trial court to disregard the terms of a marital settlement agreement due to allegedly inequitable conduct by one of the parties, where the parties considered and structured the agreement around such conduct. Additionally, a party that sings a marital settlement agreement purporting to resolve all claims between the parties waives its right to continue discovery under ORS 107.105(1)(f).

Husband appealed a dissolution judgment. Wife cross-appealed. Wife filed for divorce from Husband. The parties entered into mediation and reached a settlement agreement. Prior to reaching the agreement, Husband drew down the joint line of credit on a mutual ranch property, and deposited the funds in a personal bank account. The agreement awarded Wife the ranch property subject to the drawn-down line of credit, and afforded Husband the right to credit his repayment of those borrowed funds against his monthly spousal support payments. The trial court found the agreement was enforceable, but made an adjustment to the agreement by ordering Husband to pay Wife an additional $300,000 to offset Husband’s actions relating to the ranch property. Husband appealed the change in the settlement agreement. Wife cross-appealed, arguing that the trial court improperly prevented her from investigating and presenting evidence of Husband's separate assets. The Court held that the trial court erred in interpreting and adjusting the agreement because the parties intended the settlement agreement to dispose of all of the parties’ marital property. The Court found that husband did not act inequitably, since the parties structured their settlement agreement around his actions in relation to the ranch property. Since the trial court did not make a determination that the settlement agreement was a “just and proper” division of property under ORS 107.105(1)(f), the Court remanded to the trial court to make that determination. Additionally, the Court held that Wife waived her right to any pending discovery requests by signing the settlement agreement, since the agreement purported to resolve all claims between the parties. General judgment reversed and remanded as to property division, otherwise affirmed. Supplemental judgment vacated and remanded. On cross-appeal, husband's motion to dismiss denied; affirmed.