Bindas v. BindasAnnotate this Case
Mari Bindas appealed an order terminating Michael Bindas’ spousal support obligation. The parties filed a marital termination agreement, agreeing to spousal support and distribution of the marital estate. The parties agreed Michael Bindas would pay spousal support to Mari Bindas in the amount of $3,200 per month until she was 62 years old. The parties further agreed the spousal support would continue until the death of either party, Mari Bindas remarried, or the payment on February 1, 2023, had been made. The district court approved and adopted the parties’ termination agreement in its order. In November 2009, a judgment was entered incorporating the parties’ entire agreement. In January 2018, Michael moved to modify his spousal support obligation, arguing the spousal support should be terminated under N.D.C.C. 14-05- 24.1(3) because Mari had been habitually cohabiting with her boyfriend for more than one year. The North Dakota Supreme Court determined the parties’ written agreement satisfied the “[u]nless otherwise agreed to by the parties in writing” exception to N.D.C.C. 14-05-24.1(3); the statute did not require termination of Mari’s spousal support upon a finding of cohabitation. Therefore, the Supreme Court concluded the district court erred in granting Michael Bindas’ motion to modify spousal support, and misapplied the law by concluding it was required to terminate the spousal support under N.D.C.C. 14-05-24.1(3).