Failure of court to set due date or interest rate on judgment is not abuse of discretion.

March 14, 2019

Marroquin v. Marroquin, 2019 UT App 38 (Filed March 14, 2019).

At trial a Wife was granted a judgment of $76,000 representing half of the value of a marital business. The court did not set a due date or an interest rate. Wife appealed claiming, that “the district court should have included an interest rate or due date for her award of marital assets. Wife asserts that the court’s failure to do so places her “at such a disadvantage” that it amounts to “an abuse of discretion.” The Court of Appeals disagreed:

¶28 [Wife] relies exclusively on [the] Taft [case]to support her argument. In Taft, the district court granted the husband “discretion to pay [the] judgment all at once or in monthly installments for a period of time.” 2016 UT App 135, ¶ 57 (quotation simplified). The court did not order any minimum payment and provided that if the husband chose to make monthly payments, he “shall begin equal monthly payments, and the duration of such monthly installment payments shall not exceed a period of ten years, whereupon the balance shall be paid to [the wife] in one final balloon payment.” Id. (quotation simplified). On appeal, the wife argued that this payment strategy was inequitable because it allowed the husband “to receive full immediate enjoyment of the assets awarded to him as well as the full use of [the wife’s] share of the assets while [the wife was] deprived of meaningful access to her award.” Id. ¶ 58 (quotation simplified). This court agreed, determining that the husband was “given nearly complete discretion regarding the payment to [the wife] of her share of the marital property over a ten-year period” at a low interest rate and that the wife, who had “been granted a substantial judgment in token of her share of the marital real property,” had “no ability to collect, access, or substantially enjoy until ten years pass[ed], unless [the husband] decide[d] otherwise.” Id. ¶ 59. This court therefore concluded “that the terms of [the wife’s] property judgment [were] inequitable and that the trial court exceeded its discretion by structuring the terms of [the wife’s] property judgment as it did.” Id. ¶ 62.

¶29 This case is distinguishable from Taft. The district court in Taft gave the husband discretion to delay payment to the wife in an inequitable way. Unlike the spouse in Taft, [Wife here]does not lack the “ability to collect, access, or substantially enjoy” her award of marital property. See id. ¶ 59. Instead, she can collect on the judgment just as any other judgment creditor. See Utah R. Civ. P. 62(a) (providing that “[n]o execution or other writ to enforce a judgment may issue until the expiration of 14 days after entry of judgment, unless the court in its discretion otherwise directs”). Heather acknowledges this ability in her brief on appeal, stating that [Husband]“can hold onto the assets and reap the benefits while [Heather] waits for payment or expends time, effort, and money to enforce the divorce decree.” (Emphasis added.) Because [Wife] has not yet attempted to enforce the divorce decree, she cannot show that she has been deprived of meaningful access to her award or prevented from going forward with her separate life. We therefore conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion when it did not impose a due date or interest rate for the payment of [Wife’s] award of marital assets.

Marroquin v. Marroquin, 2019 UT App 38 (Filed March 14, 2019).

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