District Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Andrew H.
Stone No. 164906327
Carpenter, Attorney for Appellant
L. Barton and Ashley Wood, Attorneys for Appellee
Michele M. Christiansen Forster authored this Opinion, in
which Judges Gregory K. Orme and Diana Hagen concurred.
CHRISTIANSEN FORSTER, JUDGE.
Deidre Sue Janson appeals the district court's order
denying her motion to set aside a written stipulation (the
Stipulation) entered in her divorce action against Jeffrey
Alan Janson. We affirm.
The parties entered into the Stipulation following mediation
on November 14, 2016, to resolve the issues in their divorce.
As part of the Stipulation, Deidre agreed to pay Jeffrey
alimony of $2, 500 per month for eighteen months and $1, 500
per month for an additional eighteen months.
The Stipulation awarded the marital home to Jeffrey. Deidre
was awarded half of the equity in the home, less $45, 000
that constituted Jeffrey's inherited funds. The
Stipulation also divided the equity in the parties'
vehicles, requiring Deidre to pay Jeffrey $13, 178 from her
share of the parties' bank accounts to equalize the
vehicle equity disparity.
The parties had a number of retirement funds and accounts.
Regarding the retirement, the parties agreed as follows:
12. [Deidre] has the following retirement accounts: Utah
Retirement in the amount of approximately $72, 440; General
Electric in the approximate amount of $100, 435; Roth IRA in
the approximate amount of $18, 252; FDIC in the approximate
amount of $16, 719 and $17, 431; and Utah Pension in the
amount of $15, 281.
13. [Jeffrey] has the following retirement accounts: Fidelity
in the approximate amount of $22, 012; Bernstein in the
approximate amount of $18, 305.
14. The above retirement accounts will be divided equally
between the parties. In addition [Deidre] has a premarital
IRA in the approximate amount of $17, 682 which is her
15. [Jeffrey's] Alliant Technical Systems Pension plan
which will be divided pursuant to the Woodward formula.
16. The parties will share equally the cost of any qualified
domestic relation order.
On January 12, 2017, Deidre moved to set aside the
Stipulation on the ground that there was not a meeting of the
minds regarding various provisions in the agreement. She
asserted that she "did not receive [Jeffrey's]
financial disclosures until the morning of mediation and was
not able to consult with her attorney prior to
mediation." She asserted that because her Utah pension
was listed with its approximate value alongside the other
retirement accounts, her understanding was that Jeffrey was
to receive only half of the listed $15, 281 partial lump sum
value of that pension rather than half of the entire monthly
payment amount as determined by a qualified domestic
relations order (QDRO). According to Deidre, the total value
of Jeffrey's half of the pension if the monthly payment
option were utilized would amount to approximately $80, 000.
Deidre claimed that had she understood that Jeffrey would be
entitled to half of the entire Utah pension, she would not
have agreed to provisions granting Jeffrey premarital equity
in the home. She pointed to the lack of specific dates for
the accounts to be divided and the impracticality of
preparing a QDRO for every retirement account as support for
her assertion that the Stipulation should be interpreted as
granting Jeffrey only half of the stated partial lump sum
value of her Utah pension account.
Jeffrey opposed the motion to set aside the Stipulation,
pointing out that his financial declaration was provided to
Deidre well in advance of mediation and that she was
represented by counsel at the mediation. He also explained
the discrepancy between how the Stipulation described the
division of his pension account and how it described the
division of Deidre's-his account had been partially
accrued prior to the marriage, whereas Deidre's had been
accrued entirely during the period of the marriage. He
asserted that Deidre was aware that an equal division of her
pension could result in him receiving half of the monthly
payments rather than half of the partial lump sum payout
value because her own financial declaration included a
summary of the various payout options. Jeffrey also asserted
that only three QDROs, at maximum, were necessary to divide
the retirement accounts.
In responding to Jeffrey's memorandum in opposition to
her motion, Deidre raised additional issues impacting the
Stipulation's alimony award-she indicated that after
filing the motion to set aside, she was involuntarily
terminated from her job without notice, that the loss of her
job precluded her from continuing to pay alimony, and that
Jeffrey had become eligible to draw on his social security
and retirement ...