Zuanich Law Family Law Newsletter
Episode #7: We’re the Millers Episode
June 15, 2021
I apologize. Yes, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written my last newsletter.
Crazy past few months. Military promotion (yeah!). Getting sick from COVID vaccine (boooo). Lots and lots of military and civilian work (yeahboo).
I know some of you have been really sad by the absence of this newsletter over the last few months. I’ve received sad emails, crying emojis, plaintive phone calls, and lots of lots of tears. (OK, to be honest, maybe some or all of these things aren’t true). But I feel your pain.
Miller v. Miller
COA, Division 2
June 8, 2021
If you haven’t seen We’re the Millers, it’s a great movie.
Jason Sudeikis is a small-time pot dealer who has to go to Mexico to pick up his boss’ latest shipment of drugs. But he needs a foolproof plan to make him look innocent so he rents a RV and hires a fake family (Jennifer Aniston who plays a stripper to be his fake wife and two odd and delinquent kids to be his charming kids) and they get to play the role of a fake family so they seem less threatening when smuggling massive and massive quantities of drugs across the border. And, of course, things go wrong.
Sort of like the marriage in this case? No, not really, but I needed a catchy title for this episode so I just found a case named Miller to make my title fit.
Facts: See David and Wendy get married. See David and Wendy get divorced. See David and Wendy sign agreed findings of facts and conclusions of law and a final dissolution order. See Clark County Superior Court enter findings and a final dissolution order after 91 days—1 day after the mandatory waiting period. The end.
But NOT for Wendy. Wendy filed a motion for relief from judgment under CR 60. Why you ask? Duh, because there was an “irregularity” which was that David signed a declaration before the 90-day expiration. (In Clark County, there’s a local rule that says trial judge can accept agreed dissolution orders based on declaration rather than live testimony). Take that David. Suck it.
See trial court disagree. See Court of Appeals agree with trial court.
Holding: No irregularity under CR 60. Wendy signed the orders saying that marriage was irretrievably broken so what she was disputing? Nothing, really. And she made no effort to try to convince the trial court that she had changed her mind. So there was nothing irregular under RCW 26.09.030, which governs what trial courts are required to do after the 90-day waiting period has passed.
Furthermore, Wendy argued that the local Clark County rule requires the declaration to be signed before the 90 day expiration and David didn’t, contrary to RCW 26.09.030. Wrong again, Wendy.
The rule requires the declaration be made after the expiration of the 90 day period so the Court of Appeals then spent several excruciatingly, mind-numbingly boring sentences discussing dictionary definitions differences between “made” and “make” and I got so bored that I decided to “make” myself a sandwich to eat that I’m actually eating right now. But I digress.
In any event, the COA ruled that the declaration was “made” when David reviewed and signed his declaration not that it was “made” when David created or executed it. But whatever, even though this was still before the 90-day period, who gives a shit, Wendy, the COA ruled (not an exact quote: newsletter emphasis only).
About Us: Zuanich Law focuses on criminal and civil appeals, post-conviction relief, and restoring firearm rights. We also have an active civil litigation practice, including family law, personal injury, landlord-tenant, business law, civil protection orders, administrative hearings, and contract disputes.