Robirds v. Robirds, 48414

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtMOELLER, Justice.
PartiesXIOMARA ROBIRDS, Petitioner-Respondent, v. TERRANCE ROBIRDS, Respondent-Appellant.
Docket Number48414
Decision Date26 November 2021

XIOMARA ROBIRDS, Petitioner-Respondent,

TERRANCE ROBIRDS, Respondent-Appellant.

No. 48414

Supreme Court of Idaho

November 26, 2021

Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Jefferson County. Stevan H. Thompson, District Judge. Faren Z. Eddins, Magistrate Judge.

The decision of the district court is affirmed.

Hopkins Roden Crockett Hansen & Hoopes, PLLC, Idaho Falls, for Appellant. Tracy Gorman argued.

Banks Gaffney, PLLC, Idaho Falls, for Respondent. Laurie Gaffney argued.

MOELLER, Justice.

This appeal originates from a divorce between Terrance ("Terry") and Xiomara Robirds. Terry appeals from the district court's decision on intermediate appeal, which affirmed the decision of the magistrate court to (1) set aside a stipulated judgment regarding property distribution and (2) characterize all of Terry's retirement accounts as community property, to be divided equally as of the date of divorce. On appeal, Terry argues that the district court erred in affirming the magistrate court's rulings and in failing to award Terry attorney fees on intermediate appeal. For the reasons explained below, we affirm the decision of the district court.


A. Marriage and Divorce

Terry and Xiomara married in Taos, New Mexico on September 13, 2004. Prior to the marriage, Terry worked for Halliburton and ConocoPhillips. He participated in employer


sponsored retirement plans with both employers. On June 1, 2007, Terry and Xiomara purchased a residence in Rigby, Idaho. Xiomara's name was not listed on the warranty deed, and she executed a quitclaim deed to Terry on June 4, 2007. The seller issued a warranty deed to Terry on June 6, 2007.

Xiomara filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences on September 30, 2016, and Terry counterclaimed on the same grounds. Xiomara is not proficient in English. The parties attended mediation with a Spanish speaking mediator for Xiomara and reached a partial agreement as to custody, support, and visitation for their only child, but did not resolve the issue of property distribution.

Prior to trial, the parties reached a settlement regarding property division ("Property Settlement"). The record is not clear as to whether Xiomara had an interpreter during the negotiations that resulted in the Property Settlement. Xiomara claims she did not. Terry asserts that a Spanish speaking mediator was assigned but does not specifically allege that an interpreter was present during the negotiations which led to the Property Settlement.

The divorce decree, entered on August 4, 2017 ("Decree"), incorporated the Property Settlement as Exhibit B. Regarding the parties' home, the Decree stated:

Terr[y] shall provide to Xiomara, or her counsel of record proof that the initial payments on the parties' home were made from separate property within 30 days of the signing of this Judgment
Terr[y] shall also pay to Xiomara $8, 000.00 as her share of the equity of the home within 30 days of the signing of this Judgment.

Regarding Terry's retirement accounts, the Decree read:

Terr[y] shall provide an accounting of his Fidelity/BP account for the period of January 2015 to the present, to Xiomara or her counsel of record within 30 days of the signing of this Judgement [sic].
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or similar order which will divide the parties' community interest shall be submitted to the Court within 60 days after the signing of this Judgement [sic]. The QDRO shall equally divide the portion of the account which was acquired from the date of the marriage until the date of the signing of this Judgement [sic].

The Decree also stated that Terry would receive as his separate property "[p]rinciple [sic] and interest accrued on retirement accounts prior to 2004."

B. Motion to Reopen Case and Motion for Relief from Judgment


On January 19, 2018, Xiomara filed a Motion to Re-Open and a Motion for Relief from Judgment and Motion to Divide Omitted Assets ("Motion for Relief"). Xiomara sought relief from the Property Settlement portion of the Decree under Family Law Rule 809(1), (2), and (3) (2020) and Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b).[1] She requested that the magistrate court's order "include and consider substantial community assets that were omitted from the [Decree], including the marital home and retirement account(s) . . . ." She alleged that the terms of the Property Settlement Agreement were contingent on Terry's express agreement to provide certain information within 30 days and, since the entry of the judgment over five months earlier, he had failed and refused to: (1) provide documentation, as ordered, (2) prove the value of his retirement account(s), (3) prove his separate property interest in the home, and (4) pay Xiomara $8000 for her share of the home equity.

On January 25, 2018, the magistrate court granted Xiomara's Motion to Re-Open so that her Motion for Relief could be heard. Terry objected to the Motion for Relief, claiming there had been no mistake or newly discovered evidence because Xiomara's interest in the home was negotiated in the Property Settlement and because Xiomara knew of the Halliburton and ConocoPhillips retirement accounts, which were earned before the marriage. He alleged that she had shown no fraud or misrepresentation and argued that she should have sought enforcement of the Property Settlement, rather than seeking to set it aside.

On February 1, 2018, Xiomara's Motion for Relief came before the magistrate court. The magistrate court inquired as to the fact the Decree addressed only the Fidelity/BP account. Terry stated that the Fidelity/BP account was the account "applicable to the period of time they were married" but admitted he had other accounts earned prior to the marriage. Regarding the home, the magistrate court rejected Terry's claim that providing the quitclaim deed from Xiomara was sufficient to prove a separate property interest in the home because Terry had not provided proof of the separate property source of the funds to purchase the home, as he agreed to do in the Property Settlement. The magistrate court ultimately granted the Motion for Relief but limited the scope of relief to (1) determining the community/separate status of the real property, including the source


of the funds used to acquire and pay for it, and (2) an accounting of the Fidelity/BP account, noting that additional accounts discovered may be brought before the court.

Terry filed a Motion for Reconsideration, arguing that only setting aside the portion of the Property Settlement that dealt with the home and retirement accounts was improper because it allowed Xiomara to pick and choose assets without also taking more of the marital debt. The magistrate court agreed with Terry's argument and set aside the entire Property Settlement "to make sure that there's a full and fair settlement."

On October 30, 2018, Xiomara filed a Motion for Temporary Orders. The next day she filed a Motion to Compel Supplemental Discovery Responses and a Motion for Sanctions for Failure to Comply with Subpoena Duces Tecum regarding Terry's failure to provide documents regarding the home and retirement accounts. The magistrate court granted the motions, ordering Terry to deliver "full and complete discovery responses by December 1, 2018," and prohibiting him from introducing any documents disclosed after that date at trial as evidence to prove a separate property interest. The magistrate court further ordered Terry to pay Xiomara $30, 000.00 within seven days as an "offset against admitted community property or be dealt within in [sic] equalization at the time of trial or settlement."

C. Trial

Trial was held March 28 and 29, 2019. Xiomara asserted that Terry had still failed to provide the balances of the Halliburton and ConocoPhillips accounts at the time of the marriage during any discovery prior to trial. While Terry countered that he had provided detailed account statements, he did not point to any evidence which showed the balance of the accounts at the time of the marriage. He testified that he did not personally manage either the Halliburton or ConocoPhillips accounts. The magistrate court noted that documentary evidence of the account balances at the time of marriage would be more probative than Terry's testimony.

In its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the magistrate court found the residence was intended to be the marital home of the parties and that Xiomara's name was excluded from the transaction because of her poor credit and/or citizenship status. To make the down payment, Terry used a cashier's check, in the amount of $65, 690.25, drawn from a Bank of America account. "Notwithstanding orders compelling discovery and sanctions, Terr[y] failed to provide sufficient information regarding the Bank of America account on which this cashier's check was drawn." However, Terry testified at trial that the parties used the account during the marriage for depositing


community income, including his earnings from his employment at BP. The magistrate court concluded that Terry did not rebut the presumption that a home acquired during the marriage is community property since he "failed to provide sufficient evidence" that the home was purchased with his separate property funds. Therefore, the magistrate court, held that the home was purchased with community property funds and awarded each party half the equity in the home.

As for the retirement accounts, the evidence adduced at trial showed that in 2001, after his employment at ConocoPhillips and Halliburton concluded, Terry began working for British Petroleum ("BP") where he remained until his retirement in 2009. Terry has a ConocoPhillips Savings Plan account ("ConocoPhillips") with Vanguard, the value of which was $514,...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT