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In Re the Marriage of:

May 7, 2013

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF: JOHN R. STEAB, PETITIONER AND APPELLEE, AND LAUNA J. LUNA, RESPONDENT AND APPELLANT.


APPEAL FROM: District Court of the First Judicial District, In and For the County of Lewis and Clark, Cause No. BDR-2002-82 Honorable John W. Larson, Presiding Judge

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

Submitted on Briefs: February 6, 2013

Decided: May 7, 2013

Filed:

Clerk

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

¶1 Launa Luna and John Steab were married in 1987. During the marriage, the couple had three children, two of whom have reached the age of majority. Steab and Luna divorced in October 2002 when their children were fifteen and twelve years of age and twenty-two months old. The children resided at different times with either their mother or father; therefore both Luna and Steab were at times obligated to the other for child support. Since their divorce, Steab and Luna have been repeatedly engaged in some form of litigation against one another and have been before this Court on a previous appeal. See Steab v. Luna, 2010 MT 125, 356 Mont. 372, 233 P.3d 351 (Steab I). The most recent proceeding, and the one from which this appeal arises, pertains to child support arrearages on the part of both parties and the interest to be imposed on those arrearages. The First Judicial District Court's order resolved the raised issues in favor of Steab. Luna, representing herself, appeals. We affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶2 The factual background for this case is set forth in Steab I and will not be repeated here. This appeal challenges the legal conclusions set forth in the District Court's June 4, 2012 Order Regarding Child Support Arrearage (June 4, 2012 Order). By the time this order was issued, the two older children had reached the age of majority. Also, both parents had had legal primary custody of their youngest daughter at different times and had failed to timely pay their child support obligations to the other. This resulted in an arrearage on the part of both parents, raising an issue of the balances due and the interest owed on those balances. Additionally, Steab did not complete payment of his ordered portion of marital debt, and obtained an order of relief in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

¶3 The District Court's June 4, 2012 Order determined that Steab's child support arrearage was to be offset against Luna's larger child support arrearage. The court held, without factual findings, that after such offset Luna owed Steab $2,263.24 plus 12% interest per annum until paid. The court further ordered that Steab was not required to pay interest on his arrearages to Luna retroactive to October 2008, and that the marital debt owed by Steab had been discharged in Bankruptcy Court in 2011 and was no longer a debt owed by him to Luna.

¶4 It is from the June 4, 2012 Order that Luna appeals.

ISSUE

¶5 Luna raises numerous issues on appeal. A restatement of those issues is:

¶6 Did the District Court commit reversible error when it did not issue findings of fact and conclusions of law with its June 4, 2012 Order Regarding Child Support Arrearage?

¶7 Did the District Court err in awarding Steab 12% retroactive interest on Luna's arrearage?

¶8 Was Steab's February 2012 Motion for Order Directing Child Support Enforcement Division to Offset Arrearage and Request for Attorney's Fees timely filed with the District Court?

ΒΆ9 Did the District Court abuse its discretion by taking judicial notice of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court determination that Steab's marital debt was ...


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