In the Matter of the Marriage of Dawud A. Muhammad

108 P.3d 779 (2005)

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In the Matter of the Marriage of Dawud A. Muhammad

Washington Supreme Court
108 P.3d 779 (2005)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

In August 1996, Cherry Muhammad (plaintiff) and Dawud A. Muhammad (defendant) married after living together for 20 months. In April 2001, the Muhammads separated. On the day of the separation, Dawud threatened Cherry and her sister with a weapon. Dawud was charged with domestic violence and intimidation with a deadly weapon. In November 2001, Cherry obtained a protection order against Dawud. Because the order prohibited Dawud from possessing a firearm, Dawud could no longer work as a deputy sheriff and became unemployed. The divorce proceedings began after Cherry had obtained the civil protection order. At the time of the proceedings, the Muhammads had significant debt. During the property-distribution process, the trial court awarded Dawud his pension valued at $38,400 and Cherry her pension valued at $7,625. The judge explained that the decision to not divide the pensions was because Cherry had caused Dawud’s unemployment by obtaining the protection order. The judge also noted that he believed that Cherry had obtained the order to punish Dawud and that she should have realized that he would lose his employment. The judge also ordered that Cherry was liable for half of the amount owed on the home for the same reason. Additionally, the judge decided not to split the $8,200 accrued by Dawud’s pension during the 20 months that the Muhammads lived together on the ground that the amount was minimal. Cherry appealed the property distribution. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court. The matter was appealed to the Washington Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Owens, J.)

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