Isaac v. Isaac, No. 83055, Order of Affirmance (Unpublished Disposition, Oct. 26, 2023)

The parties, through a settlement conference in 2019 executed a MOU resolving distribution of community assets and debts. Wife repudiated the agreement hours after it was executed. Husband filed a motion to enforce the MOU and requested a decree of divorce.

The district court granted Husband’s motion to enforce the MOU and entered a decree of divorce in February 2021 which incorporated and merged the MOU.

Husband challenged the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order regarding enforcement of the parties’ MOU, as well as post-judgment orders denying his requests for attorney fees and costs, reimbursements, and spousal support modification.

Wife challenged enforcement of the MOU, the divorce decree, and a post-judgment order granting in part and denying in part her motion to alter or amend the divorce decree and denying her motion for a new trial.

The Supreme Court affirmed finding that the MOU was enforceable and concluded that the assets wife alleged were omitted from the MOU were disclosed on tax returns that were produced by Husband during discovery. Further, the district court did not err in entering the divorce decree based upon the MOU.

There was no abuse of discretion in the denial of Husband’s request for attorney fees and costs. The Court  reiterated that when considering an award of attorney fees in a family law matter, a district court must evaluate (1) the Brunzell factors and (2) “the disparity in income of the parties.”

The Court found no error in changing the terms of the MOU by requiring Husband to pay wife $120,000 in cash rather than as a down payment for a home in California as required by the MOU. The district court properly concluded that wife has a right to interstate migration and the payment could not be conditioned upon her purchasing a home in California.

 

Isaac v. Isaac, No. 82820, Order of Affirmance (Unpublished Disposition, Oct. 26, 2023)

Wife appealed an order which granted a motion to enforce the settlement agreement. This civil case arises from the same set of facts as in the divorce proceedings, Isaac v. Isaac, No. 83055, 2023 WL _____ (Nev. October 26, 2023) (Order of Affirmance).

The MOU settled the divorce case and allocated marital assets and debts. Paragraph 19 provided that “[t]he civil case between wife, husband, and husband’s business entities to be dismissed with prejudice.”

The civil division granted the husband’s motion to enforce the MOU based on the family division’s finding that the agreement was enforceable and legally binding, and dismissed the civil case in accordance with paragraph 19 of the MOU.

The Supreme Court affirmed, applying issue preclusion because it had already determined on appeal that the family division did not err in finding the MOU to be a valid and enforceable agreement.

The Court found that the issue decided by the family division was identical to the issue presented in the civil division and passed all of the Five Star Capital Corp. v. Ruby, 124 Nev. 1048, 194 P.3d 709 (2008) factors. Further, the family division’s ruling was on the merits and final, wife was a party to the divorce litigation, and the MOU’s enforceability was actually and necessarily litigated.

 

Isaac v. Isaac, No. 82893, Order of Reversal and Remand (Unpublished Disposition, Oct. 26, 2023)

This case stems from Isaac v. Isaac, No. 83055, 2023 WL _____ (Nev. October 26, 2023) (Order of Affirmance).  Husband appealed a post-judgment order denying a request for attorney fees.

Husband prevailed in getting enforcement of the parties’ MOU.  Husband sought attorney fees under NRS 18.010(2)(b) that were necessarily incurred by wife’s unnecessarily prolonged litigation by contesting the MOU’s validity. The district court denied the request by relying on paragraph 21 of the MOU which states the parties waived attorney’s fees.

The Supreme Court reversed and remanded. The Court found that although paragraph 21 waived the parties’ claims for attorney fees, the MOU contemplates the parties abiding by the MOU. Paragraph 21 cannot be reasonably construed as waiving the right to attorney fees that husband incurred trying to enforce the MOU once wife repudiated it.

 

 

Marshal S. Willick
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