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In re Marriage of Strom

Court of Appeals of Kansas

January 11, 2019

In the Matter of the Marriage of Eric G. Strom, Appellant, and Christina A. Strom, Appellee.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-2403 governs dormancy of judgments.

         2. Interpretation of a statute is a question of law over which appellate courts have unlimited review.

         3. K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-2403(a) applies to judgments in divorce actions.

         4. Under the facts of this case, the parties agreed in the property settlement agreement that husband would pay the wife monthly installment payments representing one-half of his military retirement pay until the death of either party.

         5. Because the length of the marriage was less than 10 years, the military finance center would not recognize the assignment of husband's military retirement pay to the wife. See 10 U.S.C. 1408(d)(2) (2012).

         6. The same rules that apply to alimony and child support installments also apply to a judgment for division of property which is payable in installments commencing in the future and payable over a term of years.

         7. As to a judgment payable in installments, the dormancy period commenced as to each installment when it became due and was collectible by execution or other legal process.

          Appeal from Riley District Court; Meryl D. Wilson, judge.

          Todd A. Luckman, of Stumbo Hanson, L.L.P., of Topeka, for appellant.

          Bentson Oleen, of Oleen Law Firm, LLC, of Manhattan, for appellee.

          Before Bruns, P.J., Buser and Schroeder, JJ.

          Schroeder, J.

         As part of his 1995 property settlement agreement approved by the district court, Eric G. Strom agreed to pay his former wife, Christina A. Strom, a portion of his military retirement pay until one of them dies. For reasons not reflected in the record, no payments have been made to Christina for over 22 years. The district court determined the agreement to pay part of Eric's military retirement pay each month created a monthly judgment as each month passed. In doing so, it found the judgments for the last five years enforceable and for years six and seven revived. Eric appeals. We agree with the district court on this point and affirm.

         Facts

         Eric and Christina Strom married in 1986 and divorced in 1995. At the time of the divorce, Eric had retired from the military and was receiving military retirement benefits. In the Separation and Property Settlement Agreement (Agreement), Eric agreed to give Christina a portion of his military retirement benefits:

"2.10 Military Retirement Pay. The HUSBAND agrees that during this marriage the WIFE has earned an independent property right to a portion of his military retirement. The HUSBAND agrees that the WIFE should be entitled to receive as her share fifty percent (50%) or Seven Hundred Forty-Three and No/100 Dollars ($743.00) of his military retirement pay, which he is presently receiving, commencing on the first day of the month following the finalization of this divorce for a period of ten (10) years. After July 1, 2005, the WIFE shall be entitled to receive twenty percent (20%) of HUSBAND's military retirement pay.
"The WIFE shall receive by direct payment from the military finance center the amount set forth above less Federal and State Income tax withholding deductions. The HUSBAND agrees to provide any information or documentation the WIFE may need to complete her request for direct payment of disposable military retirement pay from the Military Finance Center.
"Payments to the WIFE shall terminate upon the death of the WIFE or HUSBAND, whichever occurs first.
"Each party shall be responsible for their own taxes due to their income from the military retirement."

         The district court approved the Agreement and incorporated it as part of the divorce decree. Eric never made ...


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