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Quitevis v. Quitevis

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii

September 27, 2013

MICHELE A. QUITEVIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
LARRY L.J. QUITEVIS, Defendant-Appellee,
v.
STATE OF HAWAI'I, CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, Intervener

NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAI'I REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

APPEAL FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT (FC-D NO. 93-215)

On the briefs: Michael S. Zola for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Gerald W. Scatena for Defendant-Appellee.

By: Fujise, Presiding Judge, Leonard and Reifurth, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff-Appellant Michele A. Quitevis (Mother) appeals from the Family Court of the Third Circuit's (Family Court's) December 17, 2 010 Final Judgment[1] and challenges three Family Court orders, [2] which resolved Mother's and Defendant-Appellee Larry L.J. Quitevis's (Father) motions for post-decree relief from a divorce decree that had terminated Mother and Father's marriage.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS

On July 27, 1993, Mother filed a Complaint for Divorce. Mother and Father had two children, Robert M.L.M.C.J. Quitevis (Robert) and Malia J.K.K. Quitevis (Malia), both of whom are now adults. On October 29, 1993, the Family Court entered a decree of divorce (Divorce Decree), which awarded custody of the parties' then-minor children to Mother, with the right of reasonable visitation to Father, and disposed of the parties' property and debts. The Divorce Decree further provided, in relevant part:

4. In consideration of labor and expenses incurred Michele A. Quitevis agrees to give the sum of $30, 000.00 to Larry L.J. Quitevis. Larry L.J. Quitevis agrees to deposit $15, 000.00 of this money in a Trust account for Malia and Robert Quitevis. Trustee for this account to be an agreed upon third party. This money will be paid to Larry L.J. Quiteves [sic] 10 years after the death of Lucille Braun.[3]

On February 8, 2010, Father filed a Motion and Affidavit for Post-Decree Relief, requesting that the Family Court, inter alia, compel Mother to "immediately remit to [Father] the sum of $30, 000.00 pursuant to Divorce Decree." Attached to Father's motion as "Exhibit B" was a certified "Verification of Death", evidencing the death of Lucille Braun, and noting a date of death of February 3, 1996.

On March 31, 2010, Mother filed "Motion to Dismiss [Father's] Motion and Affidavit for Post-Decree Relief, " (Motion to Dismiss), and a "Cross-Motion for Judgment for Unpaid Child Support and for Sanctions" (Cross-Motion). Mother moved to dismiss Father's motion on the ground that "it is barred by the Hawaii statute of limitations of actions on domestic judgments and decrees, HRS § 557-5."

On April 27, 2010, the Family Court held a hearing on Father's motion for post-decree relief and Mother's Motion to Dismiss and Cross-Motion, after which the Family Court issued its June 2, 2010 Order After Hearing denying Mother's Motion to Dismiss and continuing the hearing on Father's motion for post-decree relief and Mother's Cross-Motion. After further briefing by the parties, the Family Court held a second hearing on June 29, 2010 at which a representative from CSEA was present to clarify that Father owed $7, 601.78 in child support arrears to the State, and owed $6, 094.89 in unpaid child support to Mother. Father acknowledged that the child support obligation owed to Mother could be offset against the amount Mother owed to him. Father also indicated that he would be willing to stipulate to $15, 000 of the money Mother owed to him to be distributed directly from Mother to Robert and Malia. The Family Court noted that there was no dispute about the fact that, pursuant to the terms of the Divorce Decree, Father was to receive $15, 000 for his benefit, and an additional $15, 000 to be placed in trust for Robert and Malia. Because Robert and Malia had reached the age of majority, the Family Court found that their interests would be "equally protected by simply . . . issuing judgments ... on their behalf, " and "what they choose to do with those judgments . . . is, uh, for them to determine." The Family Court then orally granted Father's motion for post-decree relief, granting relief in Father's favor for "$15, 000 less the offset that is . . . owed to [Mother] for child support arrearages, " and ordering that a judgment would be entered in favor of Robert and Malia, as against Mother, in the amount of $7, 500 each. The Family Court's Order After Hearing, filed on August 11, 2010, entered judgment, in relevant part, as follows:

a. Judgement shall enter in favor of [Father] against [Mother] in the amount of "$8, 905.11,
b. Judgment shall enter in favor of [Malia] against [Mother] in the amount of $7, 500.00.
c. Judgment shall enter in favor of [Robert] against [Mother] in the amount of $7, 500.00.

On July 20, 2010, Mother filed a "Motion to Designate Malia Quitevis and Robert Quitevis as Third Party Defendants, " (Motion to Designate), requesting that the Family Court designate the parties' adult children as third party defendants pursuant to

Hawai'i Family Court Rules (HFCR) Rule 14.[4] A hearing was held on August 30, 2010. At the hearing, Robert and Malia confirmed that they were aware of the judgment issued in their favor and Mother's intent to seek an appeal of the Family Court's authority to issue that order. Both Robert and Malia further indicated that they had no position with regard to Mother's Motion to Designate. Accordingly, the Family Court held that although it "seems clear enough . . . that both . ... Robert and . . . Malia Quitevis, certainly would be considered . . . third-party beneficiaries of the agreement that their parents reached in . . . their divorce . . . settlement, " the Family Court did not consider them "necessary parties." The Family Court recognized that it was the intent of the parties that a portion of the funds to be placed in trust was for the benefit of the children, both of which, "by the time this matter has come directly to the court's attention, " have reached the age of majority, and accordingly, as "the best way of ensuring that that benefit . . . was realized, " the Family Court issued judgments in their favor. The Family Court further noted that Father "has an interest which is . . ..congruent with theirs with regard to . . . the legal argument that will be raised on appeal, " and while neither of the adult children appeared in court as a movant in his or her own right, both adult children would be free to seek involvement in the appeal upon an appropriate motion in the appellate court. On October 29, 2010, the Family Court issued its Order After Hearing denying Mother's Motion to Designate.

On December 17, 2010, the Family Court filed its Final Judgment. On January 13, 2011, Mother ...


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