The Appellate Group

Somer v. Somer

Somer v. Somer, 2020 UT App 93 (Mortensen, J.)


A husband moved to modify the divorce decree to terminate his alimony obligation. Although the wife attempted to find attorneys, she did not file an answer on time, and the husband moved for a default judgment. The commissioner recommended denying the motion, and the district court followed that recommendation. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • When considering an objection to a commissioner’s recommendation, the district court must do independent findings of fact and conclusions of law, but the district court here incorrectly reviewed the commissioner’s order for abuse of discretion. However, the wife invited the district court’s error when it informed the court that it could review the commissioner’s recommendation for abuse of discretion.
  • The district court did not abuse its discretion when it determined that the wife’s efforts did not constitute excusable neglect under Utah R. Civ. P. 60(b) sufficient to set aside a default judgment.

Read the full court opinion