IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF: LISA TAYLOR, Petitioner and Appellee, and JOSEPH W. TAYLOR, Respondent and Appellant.
Submitted on Briefs: November 30, 2016
Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In and For the
County of Gallatin, Cause No. DR 12-126B Honorable Mike
Salvagni, Presiding Judge
Appellant: Suzanne C. Marshall, Marshall Law Firm, P.C.,
Appellee: Christopher J. Gillette, Christopher J. Gillette,
PC, Bozeman, Montana.
Joseph Taylor objected to the Findings of Fact, Conclusions
of Law, and Decree proposed by a standing master following
trial of the marriage dissolution proceeding between Joseph
and Lisa Taylor. The District Court refused to review the
Standing Master's report because Joseph's objections
lacked the required specificity. We agree and affirm the
District Court's order.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Lisa and Joseph married in July 2010 and have two minor
children together. The parties physically separated in March
2012. Lisa filed a petition for legal separation in November
2012. Joseph filed a counter-petition for dissolution of the
The Standing Master held a four-day trial in May 2015. After
considering the parties' testimony and evidence, the
Standing Master issued a detailed 46-page report with
findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a Decree of
Dissolution. The Master awarded Lisa the family home,
required Joseph to pay Lisa $48, 621 in back temporary family
support, required Joseph to pay over $2, 000 per month in
child support, and awarded Lisa her attorney's fees. The
Master also issued a final parenting plan that gave Lisa
primary residential custody of the children, with a plan for
supervised visitation and reunification between the children
Joseph filed a three-page motion for review of the Standing
Master's report. The District Court denied Joseph's
motion because it concluded that Joseph had not made specific
objections to the Master's report as required by statute.
The court noted that Joseph's first objection merely
restated a portion of one of the Master's findings.
Joseph's next few objections, the court observed, simply
listed the findings to which Joseph objected. The court
emphasized that Joseph did "not specify what his
objections are to those findings." Thus, the court
concluded, Joseph failed to comply with § 3-5-126, MCA.
We review de novo a trial court's interpretation of a
statute. Fellows v. Saylor, 2016 MT 45, ¶ 13,
382 Mont. 298, 367 P.3d 732.
Whether the District Court correctly refused to review
Joseph's objections to the ...