The Appellate Group

Cox v. Cox

Cox v. Cox, 2023 UT App 62 (Tenney, J.)

Family Law

James and Blanche Cox divorced after a 22-year marriage. The district court issued a bifurcated divorce decree and made various rulings. James appealed, arguing that many of the court’s rulings were not supported by adequate findings. The Utah Court of Appeals vacated and remanded, holding:

  • The district court’s findings were inadequate across the board.
  • Appellate Practice Tip: The old marshalling requirement applied only to sufficiency of the evidence cases. Adequacy of findings is a distinct issue separate from a sufficiency claim and do not apply here. For consistency moving forward, a challenge to the adequacy of the court’s findings should be referred to as “legal adequacy” issues and not “legal sufficiency” issues, to avoid confusion.
  • Judicial Tip: In divorce cases, district courts must ensure that findings of fact are sufficiently detailed. This will facilitate appellate review and ensure the parties can understand and contest the court’s reasoning.

Read the full court opinion