In re Marriage of Williams, 052820 AZAPP1, 1 CA-CV 19-0225 FC

Docket Nº:1 CA-CV 19-0225 FC
Opinion Judge:CRUZ, JUDGE
Party Name:In re the Marriage of: YELENA WILLIAMS, Petitioner/Appellee, v. JEFFREY M. WILLIAMS, Respondent/Appellant.
Attorney:Law Offices of Kevin Jensen, PLLC, Mesa By Brandon Yost Counsel for Petitioner/Appellee Jeffrey M. Williams, Niceville, Florida Respondent/Appellant
Judge Panel:Judge Maria Elena Cruz delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop and Judge David B. Gass joined.
Case Date:May 28, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of Arizona
 
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In re the Marriage of: YELENA WILLIAMS, Petitioner/Appellee,

v.

JEFFREY M. WILLIAMS, Respondent/Appellant.

No. 1 CA-CV 19-0225 FC

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

May 28, 2020

Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. FN2018-090810 The Honorable Joan M. Sinclair, Judge

Law Offices of Kevin Jensen, PLLC, Mesa By Brandon Yost Counsel for Petitioner/Appellee

Jeffrey M. Williams, Niceville, Florida Respondent/Appellant

Judge Maria Elena Cruz delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop and Judge David B. Gass joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

CRUZ, JUDGE

¶1 Jeffrey M. Williams ("Husband") appeals from the superior court's decree of dissolution and order denying his motions for a new trial. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 Husband and Yelena Williams ("Wife") married on December 27, 2016, in Pensacola, Florida, and later moved to Mesa, Arizona. With the assistance of counsel, Wife petitioned for dissolution in March 2018. Husband was self-represented throughout the proceedings.

¶3 Shortly after Wife filed her petition to dissolve the marriage, Husband received notice that his health and dental insurance coverage, which he received through Wife's military employment, had lapsed for non-payment. Although Wife paid the premium to reinstate his insurance, he filed a petition for contempt, which the superior court decided to address later at trial.

¶4 The superior court set trial for October 11, 2018. The couple acquired no significant assets during the brief marriage, and prior to trial, Husband and Wife reached an agreement on division of most of the personal property. Husband relocated to Florida in June 2018, but his address was not updated in the court's files.1 Both parties filed separate pretrial statements. The contested issues included how their respective debts would be divided and who would be awarded the two pets Wife had acquired prior to the marriage. Husband requested Wife be responsible for the cost of a cell phone line and sought spousal support "for an amount and duration to be determined by [the] Court."

¶5 On October 10, 2018, the day before trial, Husband filed an expedited motion to continue, citing a hurricane warning in the area where he was currently living. The court granted the motion and reset the trial date for October 29, 2018. The court mailed a copy of the minute entry with the new hearing date to Husband's address on file, the Mesa address.

¶6 Just hours before the time set for the continued trial on October 29, 2018, Husband filed an expedited motion to continue, claiming he did not receive notice of the reset hearing and only learned of the trial date the night before when he looked at the online docket system. The court declined to continue the trial, and Husband appeared telephonically. At trial, Husband cross-examined Wife's witness and testified as to the issues he listed in his pretrial statement. He objected to the admission of Wife's exhibits, explaining he had not received them in the mail. The court admitted the exhibits over his objection.

¶7 In its decree of dissolution, the superior court denied Husband's request for spousal maintenance, divided community property equally, and denied Wife's request for her attorneys' fees and costs. The court also awarded the pets to Wife as her sole and separate property, ordered Wife to return the cell phone associated with the contested phone line, and ordered Husband to reimburse Wife for the cost of reinstating his health insurance during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. Finally, the court declined to find Wife in contempt...

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