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Reinhardt v. Reinhardt

July 6, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF THE MARRIAGE OF DILENE M. REINHARDT, APPELLEE,
v.
SCOTT A. REINHARDT, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Russell District Court; RON SVATY, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. In determining whether the trial court had jurisdiction to consider the application of K.S.A. 60-260(b), this court applies a de novo standard of review. However, in determining whether the trial court erred in its application of the statute to the facts, appellate review is restricted to determining whether the trial court abused its discretion.

2. K.S.A. 60-260(b) allows relief from a final judgment for (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under K.S.A. 60-259(b); and (3) fraud. A motion claiming any of these reasons must be filed within 1 year after the judgment was entered.

3. K.S.A. 60-260(b)(6) allows a trial court to vacate a judgment for any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. The statute requires only that a motion pursuant to K.S.A. 60-260(b)(6) be filed within a reasonable time.

4. The general rule is that the first five grounds of K.S.A. 60-260(b), which are specific, and the sixth, the general catch-all, are mutually exclusive. A party cannot circumvent the 1-year limitation applicable to the first three grounds of K.S.A. 60-260(b) by invoking the residual clause. K.S.A. 60-260(b)(6) is not available if the asserted grounds for relief are within the coverage of another provision of K.S.A. 60-260(b).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marquardt, J.

Reversed and remanded with directions.

Before MALONE, P.J., GREEN and MARQUARDT, JJ.

Scott A. Reinhardt appeals the trial court's order to reopen a divorce property division more than 4 years after the decree and division of property were final. We reverse and remand with directions.

Dilene and Scott were married in 1996 and had three children. Dilene filed for divorce in July 1999. A divorce decree was filed in July 2000, with a later property settlement agreement approved and filed by the trial court in December 2000.

In March 2005, Dilene filed a motion to set aside or amend the final divorce judgment, claiming that Scott "committed fraud" by failing to reveal his ownership interest in the property he owned in Russell County, Kansas, at the time of the divorce.

In response to the motion, Scott admitted that he did own an interest in the property during the marriage; however, it had been deeded to him by family members, a fact of which he had been unaware. Scott had paid nothing for the property and had received no rents or profits from it. The record on appeal reveals that the grantors retained a life estate in the property. Scott contended that he did not obtain a fee simple interest in the real estate until December 2001, and he did not pay taxes on the property until December 2003.

In a brief to the trial court, Dilene urged the trial court to grant her relief pursuant to K.S.A. 60-260(b)(6), in an exercise of the trial court's power to "equitably distribute the marital property not previously distributed prior to judgment."

In its journal entry, the trial court indicated that it was persuaded by Dilene's arguments because the original property settlement was approved based on the representations Dilene and Scott made at that time. The trial court also disapproved of Scott's tactic of "arguing that [he] isn't guilty of any fraud because [he] didn't know about the property." The trial court ...


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