SCOA: Divorce Decree with Property Distribution Agreement Option is Still Final and Appealable

Davis v. Davis, 2016 Ark. 64, 487 S.W.3d 803 (2016).

Divorce decree held in part that all martial property was to be sold at public auction within 90 days. It further held that any agreement of the parties as to division of personal property would be honored and that otherwise it was to be inventoried and sold.

On appeal, the question of whether this was a final and appealable judgment was addressed.

The Arkansas Supreme Court held that it was a final judgment notwithstanding that the parties were permitted to reach agreements as to some of the property.

In so ruling, the supreme court overturned earlier court of appeals decisions holding that “conditional judgments” such as this were not final and appealable.

The supreme court held that in fact this kind of judgment allowing the parties a period of time to work out their differences while also imposing a “judicially enforceable resolution if no agreement can be reached” is not a conditional judgment and does not lack finality.

Opinion date: February 18, 2016.