Williams v. Williams

97 P.3d 1124 (2004)


H underwent a marriage ceremony with respondent Marcie C. Williams (W). At that time, W believed that she was divorced from John Allmaras. Neither W nor Allmaras had obtained a divorce. H and Marcie believed they were legally married and lived together, as husband and wife, for 27 years. In March 2000, H discovered that W was not divorced from Allmaras at the time of their marriage ceremony. H and W permanently separated. H filed a complaint for an annulment. W answered and counterclaimed for one-half of the property and spousal support as a putative spouse. H testified that had he known W was still married, he would not have married her. He claimed that W knew she was not divorced when she married him or had knowledge that would put a reasonable person on notice to check if the prior marriage had been dissolved. W never received any legal notice of divorce proceedings. W claims she ran into Allmaras at a Reno bus station, where he specifically told her that they were divorced and he was living with another woman. W testified that if she had known at any time that she was still married to Allmaras, she would have obtained a divorce from him. W was a homemaker and a mother. From 1981 to 1999, W was a licensed child-care provider for six children. She earned $460 a week. W had a certificate of General Educational Development (G.E.D.) and earned $8.50 an hour at a retirement home. She was 63 years old and lived with her daughter because she could not afford to live on her own. The district court found that W had limited ability to support herself. The district court also concluded that both parties believed they were legally married, acted as husband and wife, and conceived and raised two children. The district court granted the annulment and awarded W one-half of all the jointly-held property and spousal support. H had to pay W the sum of $500 per month for a period of four years. H timely appealed the district court's judgment.