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In re Marriage of Noel

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division

November 26, 2013

In re the Marriage of: Barbara J. Noel, Petitioner/Appellee, and David W. Noel, Respondent/Appellant.

Not for Publication See Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. 111(c); Ariz. R. Civ. App. P. 28(c).

Appeal from the Superior Court in Pima County No. D20111201 The Honorable Wayne E. Yehling, Judge

Mesch, Clark & Rothschild, P.C., Tucson By Gary J. Cohen Counsel for Petitioner/Appellee

Patricia A. Taylor, Tucson Counsel for Respondent/Appellant

Presiding Judge Kelly authored the decision of the Court, in which Judge Espinosa and Judge Eckerstrom concurred.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

KELLY, Presiding Judge

ΒΆ1David Noel appeals from the trial court's order affirming an earlier amended decree of dissolution that had ordered him to pay spousal maintenance to his former spouse Barbara Noel. David argues the court erred by failing to terminate his spousal maintenance obligation and by denying his request for numerous credits or offsets against that obligation.[1] We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

¶2We view the facts in the light most favorable to upholding the trial court's ruling. In re Marriage of Downing, 228 Ariz. 298, ¶ 2, 265 P.3d 1097 (App. 2011). The court entered a decree of dissolution in 2002, finding that David and Barbara had entered into a Property Settlement Agreement and a Partial Marital Settlement Agreement, and that the terms were "fair and equitable." It ordered the parties to comply with the agreements, which were attached to the decree and incorporated by reference. The Partial Marital Settlement Agreement provided that David would pay Barbara $6, 000 per month in spousal maintenance through August 2011; however, in the Property Settlement Agreement the parties "forever waive[d] any claim for spousal maintenance." Both agreements provided they could be modified if certain formalities were met.

¶3 In 2004, the court accepted a stipulated amendment to the agreements, which removed the provision waiving the parties' claims to spousal maintenance and replaced it with a provision matching the Partial Marital Settlement Agreement provision ordering David to pay Barbara $6, 000 per month in spousal maintenance through August 2011. In 2008, the court accepted the most recent stipulated amendment, which changed David's spousal maintenance obligation to $3, 000 per month through September 2017.

¶4 David made spousal maintenance payments for over nine years. In April 2011, Barbara filed a petition for post-decree relief and asked the court to hold David in contempt, alleging in relevant part that he had failed to pay spousal maintenance for three months beginning in December 2010 and requesting a judgment for the amount owed. David filed a petition in July 2011, alleging the previous spousal maintenance awards were invalid and requesting, inter alia, the following relief: termination of any future spousal maintenance obligation, credits against any obligations, and an accounting of the proceeds from Barbara's sale of an insurance business.

¶5 The trial court conducted evidentiary hearings on the petitions over the course of seven days. The court affirmed David's spousal maintenance obligation pursuant to the 2008 amended decree of dissolution and denied his request for offsets against that obligation. It declined to address David's argument regarding the sale of the insurance business, concluding it was "not appropriate" to discuss property not disposed of in the decree in an action to enforce the decree. This appeal followed.[2]

Discussion

Spousal Maintenance Obligation


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