Thomas-Morgan v. Bodine (mem.)

Thomas-Morgan v. Bodine, No. 1 CA-CV 21-0243 FC, 2022 WL 405843 (Ariz. App. Feb. 10, 2022) (mem.).

Facts and Procedural History

The parties were divorced in 2008. As part of the decree, the court awarded spousal maintenance to Wife for 10 years. As part of the division of property within the decree, the court ordered Husband to transfer two life insurance policies to Wife. Husband was also ordered to “maintain payment of all necessary premiums and all other associated costs in connection with said policies so long as duties of child support and spousal maintenance [were] owed to [Wife].”

Husband allowed the first two policies to lapse and was held in contempt. Husband was ordered to replace the lapsed policies with a new, third policy. Years later, the third policy also lapsed and Husband filed a Rule 85 motion seeking various alternatives—obtaining a smaller policy or an equivalent policy with a different payment structure. The court denied the Rule 85 motion and Husband appealed.

Ruling

The court of appeals held that Husband was prohibited from allowing the third policy to lapse because it was Wife’s separate property under the decree. Provisions in a decree “as to property disposition may not be revoked or modified, unless the court finds the existence of conditions that justify the reopening of a judgment under the laws of this state.” A.R.S. ยง 25-327(A).

Husband also appealed the contempt finding, but contempt rulings are not appealable and the court of appeals declined to accept special action jurisdiction.

Although this is a memorandum decision, this case affirms the court’s authority to require one spouse to make premium payments on a life insurance as part of its division of property.