Vierstra v. VierstraAnnotate this Case
This case stemmed from a divorce proceeding between Michael and Susan Vierstra. The magistrate court made a finding regarding the expected tax liability for 2009 when determining the value of the Vierstra family dairy. In its Judgment and Decree of Divorce, the magistrate court ordered the parties to adjust the valuations and equalizations according to the actual tax liability. After Susan objected to the form of the judgment, the magistrate court entered an Amended Judgment which did not alter the language regarding valuation of the dairy and the parties' obligation to adjust the valuations and equalizations. Because the actual tax liability for 2009 turned out to be much less than expected, Susan filed a motion seeking an adjustment of the equalization payment she was due. The magistrate court ultimately denied her motion, and Susan appealed the Amended Judgment to the district court, asserting that the magistrate court erred in its valuation of the dairy and by denying her motion to adjust the equalization payment. The district court dismissed the appeal, holding that Susan had not timely appealed from the judgment that determined the value of the dairy and that the magistrate court lacked jurisdiction to entertain her motion to adjust. After its review of the matter, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Court held that Susan's appeal of the factual finding regarding the amount of the parties' tax liability was indeed untimely, and therefore reversed the district court's decision that the magistrate court lacked jurisdiction to consider her Motion to Adjust.