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Rel v. Rel

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

January 11, 2019

Eduardo Enrrique Rel
v.
Carolina Rel

          Appeal from Mobile Circuit Court (DR-16-900532)

          PITTMAN, JUDGE.

         Eduardo Enrrique Rel ("the husband") appeals from an amended divorce judgment entered by the Mobile Circuit Court ("the trial court") insofar as that judgment awarded Carolina Rel ("the wife") $35, 000 from the husband's retirement accounts. We reverse and remand.

         Procedural History

         In April 2016, the wife sued the husband for a divorce, seeking, among other things, a division of the husband's retirement accounts. The action was tried on February 16, 2017. Before the wife called her first witness at the trial, the following colloquy occurred:

"THE COURT: What is the date of marriage?
"[The wife's counsel]: February 7, 2002.
"THE COURT: And when did the retirement, when did that start accruing?
"[The husband's counsel]: Early '90's.
"THE COURT: And do you have your accountant ready to reflect what was earned during the marriage?
"[The wife's counsel]: We do not, Your Honor. We asked [the husband] in discovery what was in it at the time of the marriage and he said he didn't know. I haven't subpoenaed anything so I don't have that.
"THE COURT: Let me see the attorneys in my office.
"(Off the record discussion in chambers.)
"(Back on the record.)
"THE COURT: All right. Call your first witness.
"And let the record reflect that the Court will not be dividing the retirement today because there is not going to be evidence to determine what amount was accrued during the marriage, so let's begin."

         The trial court then proceeded to receive evidence. During the husband's testimony, he testified as follows:

"THE COURT: And then your retirement of $147, 000, I said earlier that this was a problem because there was no -- not going to be any evidence of how much was accrued during the marriage, and on your exhibit ...

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