Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Nguyen v. Nguyen

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division

April 23, 2019

THANHPHUONG THI NGUYEN, Appellant,
v.
DIENG NGUYEN, Respondent.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis 0822-FC01809 Honorable Theresa Burke

          ROBERT M. CLAYTON III, JUDGE

         Thanhphuong Thi Nguyen ("Wife") appeals the trial court's judgment granting in part and denying in part her motion to enforce a separation agreement that was entered into between Wife and Dieng Nguyen ("Husband") and incorporated into the judgment dissolving their marriage. We reverse and remand.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         Husband and Wife were married on October 19, 2001. After approximately seven years of marriage, the parties separated and Wife subsequently petitioned the court to dissolve the marriage. On July 13, 2009, the parties were divorced pursuant to a dissolution judgment entered by the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. There were no children born of the marriage.

         To facilitate and effectuate their divorce, Husband and Wife entered into a Separation Agreement which, among other things, divided three parcels of real property. The Separation Agreement and its terms were approved and incorporated into the trial court's "Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage: Separation Agreement" (collectively "the Dissolution Judgment").

         Pursuant to the Separation Agreement, Husband was awarded the marital residence. The two remaining parcels of real property consisted of a two-family flat located at 3709-3711 Chippewa Street in the City of St. Louis and a four-unit apartment building located at 5518 Chippewa Street in the City of St. Louis ("the Chippewa properties"). During the marriage and at the time the Separation Agreement was executed, the Chippewa properties were jointly owned by the parties and subject to joint deed of trust obligations. In the Separation Agreement, however, the parties agreed Husband would be awarded the Chippewa properties subject to certain conditions. In relevant part, the Separation Agreement specifically states:

No later than 90 days from the date of entry of a judgment of dissolution in this cause, [Husband] shall either (A) obtain the consent of [the lender] to his sole assumption of the Mortgage and deed of trust, and obtain the lender's release of [Wife] from any obligations under the Mortgage and deed of trust, or (B) qualify for and obtain the refinancing of the existing Mortgage and thereby release [Wife] from any obligations under the Mortgage and deed of trust. In the event that [Husband] fails to obtain the release of [Wife] by either method set forth in (A) or (B) within 90 days from the entry of judgment, the property shall be listed for sale at such list price as the parties shall agree, and the net proceeds of the sale, after payment of any indebtedness, real estate broker's fees and closing costs, shall be equally divided between the parties. Should said listing fail to result in a sale of the property within 180 days from the entry of judgment, the list price shall be reduced to its then-appraised value according to the City of St. Louis Assessor's Office, if less than the agreed list price, and the net proceeds of the sale, after payment of any indebtedness, real estate broker's fees and closing costs, shall be equally divided between the parties.[2]

         The parties filed no post-trial motions or appeals from the Dissolution Judgment.

         It is undisputed Husband failed to obtain the release of Wife from any obligations under the mortgages and deeds of trust relating to the Chippewa properties pursuant to one of the methods set forth above within ninety days from the entry of the Dissolution Judgment. Although there is conflicting evidence as to when Wife learned of Husband's default, Wife finally acted on the information in 2017. On March 6, 2017, Wife's counsel sent a letter to Husband demanding that the Chippewa properties be immediately listed for sale pursuant to the terms of the Dissolution Judgment. On April 11, 2017, Wife filed a motion to enforce separation agreement requesting that, (1) Husband be required to list the Chippewa properties for sale with the net proceeds of the sale to be equally divided between the parties; and (2) Wife be awarded her reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Husband did not file an answer to Wife's motion.

         During the course of litigation, Husband refinanced the mortgages on both of the Chippewa properties, thereby releasing Wife from any obligations under the mortgages and deeds of trust. However, Husband refused to list the subject properties for sale as required by the Dissolution Judgment. Following a bench trial, the trial court entered a judgment granting Wife's motion to enforce in part and denying it in part. The trial court granted Wife's motion to the extent, (1) the court found Wife had been damaged as a result of Husband's delay in obtaining the release of Wife from any obligations under the mortgages and deeds of trust as required under the Dissolution Judgment; (2) the court awarded Wife $9, 600 in damages; and (3) the court awarded Wife her reasonable attorney's fees in pursuing her motion to enforce. However, the trial court denied Wife's motion insofar as it did not order the Chippewa properties to be sold. Wife appeals the portion of the trial court's judgment denying her motion to enforce.

         II. DISCUSSION

         In Wife's sole point on appeal, she argues the trial court erred and misapplied the law by refusing to order the Chippewa properties to be sold and the net proceeds of the sale to be equally divided between the parties, as required by the Dissolution Judgment. Wife maintains the trial court's action was an improper modification of a separation agreement incorporated into a final judgment.

         In addition, Wife has filed a motion for attorney's fees on appeal, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.