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Riley v. Riley

Court of Appeals of Utah
138 P.3d 84 (2006)


Facts

Ms. Riley (defendant) and Mr. Riley (plaintiff) were married from February 1992 until the spring of 2003. Ms. Riley contributed approximately $275,000 to $300,000 more to the marriage over the years than Mr. Riley did. Mr. Riley committed adultery, which is willing sexual relations between a person who is married and someone other than that person’s spouse. In fact, Mr. Riley fathered a child out of wedlock with a woman in Texas. Ms. Riley became aware of the adultery over one year after the child was born. Ms. Riley demanded that Mr. Riley cut off all contact with the child and its mother. In spring 2003, Mr. Riley left the marriage. Mr. Riley agreed to pay Ms. Riley $900 per month until their home in Utah sold. The trial court analyzed the couple’s expenses and determined that Ms. Riley’s expenses totaled $338 more than her income per month. The trial court also analyzed testimony regarding whether Mr. Riley had fathered a second child out of wedlock around the time that he and Ms. Riley separated. The trial court found that Mr. Riley was not a credible witness. The trial court considered the issue of fault, which is a ground for divorce under which one spouse commits a wrongful act against the other, such as adultery, abandonment, or prison confinement. The trial court determined that, but for the adulterous acts of Mr. Riley, the divorce would not have occurred. Mr. Riley was ordered to pay Ms. Riley $900 per month for 156 months, which was equal to the length of the marriage. Mr. Riley appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Billings, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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