District Court, Morgan Department The Honorable Noel S. Hyde
D. Wride and Bryant McConkie, Attorneys for Appellant
E. Arnold and Lauren Schultz, Attorneys for Appellee
Michele M. Christiansen Forster authored this Opinion, in
which Judges Kate Appleby and David N. Mortensen concurred.
CHRISTIANSEN FORSTER, JUDGE.
Robben Ann Oldroyd (Wife) appeals the district court's
determination that Farrell Lynn Oldroyd (Husband) was
entitled to an equitable interest in property she acquired
prior to the parties' marriage. We reverse and remand for
This case previously came before us in Oldroyd v.
Oldroyd (Oldroyd I), 2017 UT App 45, 397 P.3d
645. At that time, Wife challenged the district court's
determination that Husband had acquired a premarital interest
in a home constructed prior to their marriage and titled in
her name. Id. ¶¶ 2, 5.
We vacated the award and remanded for the district court to
make additional findings disclosing "the steps by which
the district court reached its ultimate conclusion."
Id. ¶¶ 5, 11. Although courts have
discretion to grant one spouse an equitable portion of
premarital property belonging to another spouse in certain
circumstances, see Lindsey v. Lindsey, 2017 UT App
38, ¶ 33, 392 P.3d 968, the district court had not made
findings regarding any of those circumstances. Instead, it
concluded that Husband had "acquired a separate
premarital interest in the improvements on the
property." Oldroyd I, 2017 UT App 45, ¶ 4
(quotation simplified). Yet the court did not articulate
"what legal theory gave" Husband a premarital
interest in the property as opposed to an equitable interest
in a portion of a premarital asset belonging to Wife.
Id. ¶ 8. Thus, we were "unable to trace
with accuracy the steps by which the district court reached
its ultimate conclusion that [Husband] had obtained a
premarital interest in the house." Id.
¶ 11 (emphasis added).
On remand, the court made additional findings regarding
Husband's contribution to the value of the home. The
court found that Wife had contributed $350, 000 toward the
out-of- pocket costs of constructing the home and that
"[t]he value of the specialized expertise and labor
provided" by Husband, which included providing "the
vast majority of supervision and conceptual direction for the
construction of the home, " "was equivalent to the
value of [Wife's] financial contributions to the
home's construction, " i.e., $350,
The court further found that Husband "conferred upon
[Wife] the benefit of his unique and specialized knowledge
and skills in constructing the . . . home, " that Wife
"was aware of and appreciated the unique and substantial
benefit being conferred upon her, " and that permitting
Wife "to retain the benefit of [Husband's] knowledge
and skills without granting [Husband] equal value in the home
would unjustly enrich" Wife. Based on these findings,
the court determined that the parties "should each be
awarded a 50% premarital interest" in the home based on
a theory of unjust enrichment. Wife again appeals the
district court's decision.
AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
Wife asserts that the district court erred in recognizing a
50% premarital interest for Husband based on unjust
enrichment. "We review the district court's legal
conclusions for correctness, and will reverse its factual
findings only if they are clearly erroneous." 438
Main St. v. Easy Heat, Inc., 2004 UT 72, ¶ 49, 99
Wife asserts that the district court erred in awarding
Husband a premarital interest based on unjust enrichment,
because that theory was neither pleaded nor tried by consent.
Husband maintains that his pleadings adequately asserted an
unjust enrichment claim and that, even if they did not do so
explicitly, Wife was aware of the claim and ...