Stephenson v. Stephenson

20100237 Daniel L. Stephenson, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Sharrie Stephenson, Defendant and Appellant

Appeal from: District Court, South Central Judicial District, McLean County
Judge Donald L. Jorgensen
Nature of Action: Divorce/Property Div./Alimony
Counsel:
Appellee: Paul Henry Myerchin
Appellant: Jaclyn Marie Stebbins
Term: 02/2011   Argument: 02/01/2011  9:30am
ND cite: 2011 ND 57
NW cite: 795 N.W.2d 357

Listen to recording of oral argument in MP3 format

Issues: Appellant's Statement of the Issues:
I. Whether the district court's decision was clearly erroneous when it did not make a provision whereby Dan was required to pay Sharrie the 25% award of Dan's DOD retirement account from the parties' 1994 divorce judgment.
II. Whether the district court's decision was clearly erroneous in its division of Dan's retirement accounts by awarding Sharrie only a $90,000 payment for her marital interest in the retirement accounts.
III. Whether the district court's decision was clearly erroneous in its disparate division of the parties' personal assets.
IV. Whether the district court's decision was clearly erroneous in its award of $3,000 in permanent spousal support to Sharrie despite its finding that Sharrie is seriously disadvantaged.
V. Whether the district court abused its discretion when it ordered Dan to pay only $10,000 to Sharrie for her attorney's fees.

Appellee's Statement of the Issues:
I. Whether Judge Jorgensen's equitable division of Dan and Sharrie's marital estate was clearly erroneous when Judge Jorgensen, utilizing the Ruff-Fischer Guidelines, ordered Dan to pay Sharrie $90,000; ordered Dan pay all marital debt; awarded Sharrie a house and car debt- free; and required Dan to pay Sharrie $3,000 per month in permanent spousal support.
II. Whether Sharrie is requesting a form of double-recovery from this Court by claiming Judge Jorgensen committed clear error for not awarding her over $100,000 from Dan's Department of Defense (DOD) pension, despite the fact she never sought to enforce her claim to an alleged award under the parties' previous divorce judgment and especially when one considers that the monies Dan received from his military pension went to the benefit of his family.
III. Whether Judge Jorgensen's award of $3,000 permanent spousal support to Sharrie was clearly erroneous despite Dan providing direct support to Sharrie of $3,250 per month during the four years of separation; Sharrie having not accumulated appreciable assets even though she received this financial support from Dan; and Dan's ability to pay spousal support upon his retirement will be greatly reduced.
IV. Whether Judge Jorgensen's $10,000 award to Sharrie for attorney's fees was an abuse of discretion when the $10,000 award would have covered 96% of her attorney fees in August 2009 and Sharrie caused the drastic increase in her legal expenses by bringing the matter back to Court three additional times for the Court to reconsider its rulings.

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Docket entries:
107/23/2010 NOTICE OF APPEAL: 07/22/2010
207/23/2010 ORDER FOR TRANSCRIPT: 07/22/2010
307/25/2010 RETENTION OF RECORD ON APPEAL and acknowledgment of order for transcript: 09/10/2010
409/09/2010 DISK-tra (8/4/09, 11/24/09 and 3/11/10) e-mailed
509/09/2010 Acknowledgement of Order for Transcript (7/19/10)
609/13/2010 TRANSCRIPTS DATED 8/4/09, 11/24/09 and 3/11/10 & C.O.S.
710/07/2010 TRANSCRIPT DATED 07/19/10 & C.O.S.
810/07/2010 DISK - TRA dated 7/19/10
910/14/2010 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF
1010/14/2010 E-FILED MOTION
1110/14/2010 ACTION BY CHIEF JUSTICE (30 days after service of order on mtn to amend). Granted
1210/14/2010 ORDER OF REMAND
1310/15/2010 Order Sent to Parties
1410/19/2010 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF (sua sponte)
1510/19/2010 ACTION BY CLERK (reset after remand). Granted: 11/18/2010
1610/28/2010 RECORD ON APPEAL (2 vols.) and Separate Nos. 31 & 32--Exhibits
1711/18/2010 APPELLANT BRIEF (e-filed)
1811/18/2010 E-FILED BRIEF (ATB)
1911/18/2010 APPELLANT APPENDIX (e-filed)
2011/18/2010 E-FILED APPENDIX (ATA)
2111/22/2010 Received $149.00 surcharge for ATB & ATA (Receipt #20065)
2211/23/2010 Received 7 copies of ATB from CSD
2311/23/2010 Received 6 copies of ATA from CSD
2412/17/2010 APPELLEE BRIEF
2512/17/2010 APPELLEE APPENDIX
2612/17/2010 DISK - aeb (e-mailed)
2701/06/2011 REPLY BRIEF (e-filed) (3 days overdue, but filed subject to approval of Court)
2801/06/2011 E-FILED BRIEF (RYB)
2901/10/2011 Received 7 copies of RYB from CSD
3001/11/2011 MOTION TO STRIKE REPLY BRIEF & BRIEF IN SUPPORT
3101/11/2011 ACTION BY CHIEF JUSTICE (Mot/Strike/RYB). Denied
3201/19/2011 NOTICE OF ORAL ARGUMENT SENT
3301/28/2011 Letter from Jackie Stebbins dated 1-28-11 RE: explanation of pages in Appendix (e-mailed)
3402/01/2011 APPEARANCES: Jackie M. Stebbins; Paul H. Myerchin
3502/01/2011 ARGUED: Jackie M. Stebbins; Paul H. Myerchin
3602/01/2011 ORAL ARGUMENT WEBCAST
3703/22/2011 DISPOSITION (AND REMANDED): AFFIRMED/PT, REVERSED/PT
3803/22/2011 UNANIMOUS OPINION: VandeWalle, Gerald W.
3903/22/2011 Neither party shall have and recover costs on appeal
4003/23/2011 Judgment Sent to Parties
4104/14/2011 MANDATE
4204/18/2011 RECEIPT SIGNED BY DISTRICT COURT CLERK'S OFFICE

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