In re Marriage of Gonzales, 052820 AZAPP1, 1 CA-CV 19-0303 FC

Docket Nº:1 CA-CV 19-0303 FC
Opinion Judge:CRUZ, JUDGE.
Party Name:In re the Marriage of: TINA J. GONZALES, Petitioner/Appellee, v. SIMON GONZALES, Respondent/Appellant.
Attorney:Duenas Eden, PLC, Phoenix By Dorian L. Eden Counsel for Petitioner/Appellee Horne Slaton, PLLC, Scottsdale By Thomas C. Horne, Kristin M. Roebuck Bethell Counsel for 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: TINA J. GONZALES, Petitioner/Appellee,

v.

SIMON GONZALES, Respondent/Appellant.

No. 1 CA-CV 19-0303 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Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court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. FN2017-002932 The Honorable Kerstin G. LeMaire, Judge

Duenas Eden, PLC, Phoenix By Dorian L. Eden Counsel for Petitioner/Appellee

Horne Slaton, PLLC, Scottsdale By Thomas C. Horne, Kristin M. Roebuck Bethell Counsel for 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 Appellant Simon Gonzales ("Husband") challenges the superior court's grant of summary judgment to Appellee Tina J. Gonzales ("Wife") on his challenge to the parties' property settlement agreement. We conclude the court did not err in finding the agreement to be enforceable and therefore affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 Wife petitioned for dissolution of the parties' marriage in June 2017. On October 2, 2017, the parties participated in a private mediation. Both parties were represented by counsel in the mediation, and Husband attended telephonically.

¶3 The parties reached agreement on all outstanding issues in mediation, and a settlement agreement was prepared. When Husband reviewed the settlement agreement, he balked at the final paragraph stating that the parties entered into it freely, voluntarily, and without undue coercion or duress, and asserted he felt "there was some coercion." He said "[t]here were several levels of coercion that included from [Wife's] lawyer that was very intimidating" and the mediator "presented his case which was somewhat coercive."

¶4 After privately conferring with counsel, Husband told the mediator the agreement's terms were fair and equitable. When asked if he had been forced or coerced into the agreement, he responded "not applicable." He also affirmed his intent to be bound by the agreement and authorized his counsel to sign it on his behalf.

¶5 Approximately one month later, Husband, represented by new counsel, moved to set aside the settlement agreement. He contended (1) he was not "fully informed as to the assets during mediation"; (2) the agreement did not equitably divide the community property; and (3) he "felt unprepared and unsupported by his [former] lawyer" and for that reason "reluctantly directed his lawyer to sign [it] on his behalf" despite stating that "he did not agree that the agreement was fair and equitable." He specifically challenged (1) the award of the marital home to Wife without any offset;

(2) the requirement that he pay $32, 000 towards the parties' adult child's college education; and

(3) the untimely disclosure that Wife had four bank accounts, which he speculated "were utilized to transfer and hide community funds."

He requested a hearing under Sharp v. Sharp, 179 Ariz. 205 (App. 1994), to ensure the settlement agreement was fair and equitable.

¶6 The superior court set a hearing on Husband's motion. But on May 9, 2018, the court issued an order stating it "likely will not schedule trial (or will continue a scheduled trial) for 90 days after a party files a motion for summary judgment" based on this court's opinion in Hutki v. Hutki, 244 Ariz. 39 (App. 2018).

¶7 The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The superior court ruled in Wife's favor, finding no fact questions remained...

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