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In Re the Marriage of

September 27, 2012

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF KELLI M. WEBB, N/K/A KELLI STAPLETON, PETITIONER AND APPELLEE, AND LYMAN D. WEBB, RESPONDENT AND APPELLANT.


APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Nineteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Lincoln, Cause No. DR-02-29 Honorable Michael C. Prezeau

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Patricia O. Cotter

Submitted on Briefs: August 22, 2012

Decided: September 27, 2012

Filed:

Clerk

Justice Patricia O. Cotter delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(d), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶2 Kelli Stapleton and Lyman Webb married on July 3, 1983. In 2002, the couple sought dissolution. By that time, their three children had reached adulthood. The parties filed as co-petitioners and pursued expedited summary dissolution under §§ 40-4-130 through -136, MCA (2001). A decree of dissolution was entered on May 13, 2002, adopting and approving the parties' Separation and Property Settlement Agreement (PSA). Under the applicable statutes, however, the couple did not actually qualify for summary dissolution because they had assets valued in excess of $25,000, owned real property, and the PSA awarded maintenance to Kelli.

¶3 Between 2002 and 2004, at Kelli's request, the court entered four amended decrees of dissolution. When Kelli retained a lawyer in 2007 and filed a motion for a fifth amended decree, Lyman retained counsel and objected. After the District Court denied Kelli's motion, she moved to set aside all previously-filed decrees and judgments. The District Court granted her motion pertaining to all matters except the status of the marriage.

¶4 The District Court conducted a bench trial in July 2008. Shortly thereafter, it issued its Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order, in which it divided many of the couples' assets in accordance with their 2002 agreement. The court also awarded Kelli 50% of Lyman's federal employee retirement benefits and 50% of his thrift saving plan, and required that Kelli be named as beneficiary of 50% of the proceeds of Lyman's life insurance. Lastly, the court awarded maintenance to Kelli for her lifetime or until she remarried. Both parties are disabled and are receiving Social Security disability benefits and neither party had remarried at the time of the proceeding.

¶5 In September 2011, Lyman filed his notice of appeal arguing the District Court did not make the requisite findings of fact pertaining either to his ability to pay maintenance or to Kelli's need for such maintenance. We affirm.

ISSUE

ΒΆ6 A restatement of the issue is whether the District Court erred in awarding Kelli maintenance for ...


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