The Appellate Group

Nakkina v. Mahanthi

Nakkina v. Mahanthi, 2021 UT App 63 (Pohlman, J.)

Family Law; Civil Procedure

Husband and Wife divorced, and Husband appealed, challenging several rulings of the district court. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • Parent time: The trial court’s rationale for awarding greater parent-time to Wife, based on Husband’s work demands, was not supported by the evidence when there was no evidence that Husband’s current job or work schedule would interfere with 50/50 parent time.
  • Marital Property: The trial court erred in awarding Wife the jewelry Husband gave her during the marriage. While gifts and inheritances given to one spouse from a source outside the marriage are generally treated as separate property, this rule does not apply when one spouse uses marital funds to purchase a gift for the other spouse.
  • Attorney Fees: The district court’s findings that Wife was unable to meet her attorney fees expenses appeared not to account for certain evidence and factual findings. The court of appeals remanded for reconsideration.
  • Motion to amend: Husband filed a motion to amend the court’s findings and conclusions before judgment was entered, which the court construed as a motion to reconsider and rejected. Although Husband argued he had filed a rule 59 motion, rule 59 allows a party to seek to alter or amend a judgment, and because Husband’s motion preceded the judgment, the court did not err in construing it as a motion to reconsider.

Read the full court opinion