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Issaquah Law Group - Injury Litigation Attorneys

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WA Court of Appeals at Div. II: Scribbled Crappy CR 2(a) Dissolution Agreement Enforced Because Both Parties Want It to Be

Grimsley-Lavergne v. Lavergne

This is the first time I've heard of a record referred to as "abysmal". But there's no other way to describe this. It's essentially a dissolution CR2(a) stipulation written on a bar room napkin:

On September 21, 2004, Mark, Teresa, and their attorneys attended a mediation with former King County Superior Court Commissioner Harry Slusher. The 11-hour mediation resulted in a partially typed but mostly scribbled document identified as a "CR 2A stipulation and agreement" signed by each party, the attorneys, and Slusher. The CR 2A agreement addressed many marriage dissolution issues including: (1) a parenting plan; (2) child support; (3) spousal maintenance; (4) extensive agreements on the distribution of personal property, real property, business property, and personal and business liabilities; and (5) ownership and management of the septic and plumbing business.

The CR 2A agreement is confusing; portions are interlineated, sections are crossed out, and some crossed-out sections have adjacent notes stating, "Back in." Clerk's Papers (CP) at 489-90, 493. The CR 2A agreement does clearly state, however, that "W will prepare final paperwork, incl. [the property settlement agreement]. W will do final presentation."

Anyhow, they end up having sex that night and staying together three years. Then she wants to enforce the agreement and he doesn't. Then he does. The court, understandably, is ticked that they didn't follow form in a dissolution:

Moreover, the record reflects that, although they did so at different times, Mark and Teresa each asked the trial court to enforce the CR 2A agreement. Accordingly, neither party has standing to argue that he or she is aggrieved by the trial court's enforcement of the CR 2A agreement and the entry of the final dissolution decree.

As we noted earlier, the trial court should have required the parties to comply with former RCW 26.09.070. The legislature expressly designed this statute to address the enforceability of parties' predissolution agreements. See generally former RCW 26.09.070. Moreover, former RCW 26.09.070 mandates that a predissolution separation contract be in writing and any terms of a parties' predissolution separation contract (except for parenting plans and child support) be incorporated into a decree of dissolution unless (1) the parties mutually intended to revoke the agreement or (2) the trial court finds the agreement was "unfair at the time of its execution." Former RCW 26.09.070(1), (4), (5), (8). Neither the trial court nor the parties addressed the statute.


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