Lovell v. Lovell, 122220 MESC, Ken-20-107

Docket Nº:Ken-20-107
Opinion Judge:CONNORS, J.
Party Name:DOROTHY J. LOVELL v. PAUL J. LOVELL JR.
Attorney:Joe Lewis, Esq, Port City Legal, LLC, Portland, for appellant Dorothy J. Lovell Thomas J. Nale Jr., Esq., Nale and Nale Law Offices, LLC, Waterville, for appellee Paul J. Lovell Jr.
Judge Panel:Panel: MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HUMPHREY, HORTON, and CONNORS, JJ.
Case Date:December 22, 2020
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

2020 ME 139

DOROTHY J. LOVELL

v.

PAUL J. LOVELL JR.

No. Ken-20-107

Supreme Court of Maine

December 22, 2020

Submitted On Briefs: October 21, 2020

Joe Lewis, Esq, Port City Legal, LLC, Portland, for appellant Dorothy J. Lovell

Thomas J. Nale Jr., Esq., Nale and Nale Law Offices, LLC, Waterville, for appellee Paul J. Lovell Jr.

Panel: MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HUMPHREY, HORTON, and CONNORS, JJ.

CONNORS, J.

[¶ 1] Dorothy Lovell appeals from a divorce judgment entered by the District Court (Augusta, E. Walker, J.) and contends that the court erred by permitting Paul Lovell to argue that a retirement account was marital property despite a contrary provision in an earlier divorce judgment. Additionally, Dorothy argues that she received insufficient notice of the court's intention to reevaluate the distribution of the entire marital estate and that the court committed obvious error when it determined that part of the retirement account was marital property. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶ 2] On January 9, 2019, the District Court entered an order granting the divorce of Dorothy J. Lovell and Paul J. Lovell Jr. The order provided, in relevant part, that Dorothy would be permitted to continue living in the marital home in exchange for a payment to Paul for half its value and that a Prudential IRA valued at approximately $451, 000 was nonmarital property because the initial investment in the account was made by Dorothy prior to the marriage. The court's judgment indicated that it was based on the agreement of the parties.

[¶ 3] Shortly after the judgment was entered, Dorothy filed a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1) because of two previously overlooked liens on the marital home. The court granted the motion and, in its order, noted that the entire marital property distribution would be reevaluated. After a contested hearing on June 5, 2019, in which both parties asserted positions contrary to those they had taken in the initial divorce proceeding, the court ordered that Dorothy be awarded the marital home subject to the previously unknown liens and a reduced payment to Paul and that the $372, 000 increase in the value of the Prudential IRA that occurred during the course of the marriage was marital property. Accordingly, the court ordered Dorothy to pay Paul $186, 000-the value of half of the marital portion of the IRA.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Judicial Estoppel

[¶4] Dorothy first contends that the District Court erred when it determined that Paul was not judicially estopped from asserting that the Prudential IRA was marital property despite agreeing at the initial divorce hearing that it was nonmarital property. We review a court's failure to apply the doctrine of judicial estoppel de novo. See In re Child of Nicholas P., 2019 ME 152, ¶ 12, 218 A.3d 247.

[¶5] Judicial estoppel is a doctrine that "prevents a party from prevailing in one phase of a case on an argument and then relying on a contradictory argument to...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP