and cross-appeal from orders resolving a motion to allocate
omitted assets and modifying a divorce decree as it relates
to PERS retirement benefits. Eighth Judicial District Court,
Family Court Division, Clark County; Cheryl B. Moss, Judge.
Office of Betsy Allen and Betsy Allen, Las Vegas, for
Law Office and Fred Page, Las Vegas, for
PICKERING, PARRAGUIRRE and CADISH, JJ.
appeal, we review the district court's distribution of
community property upon Richard Kilgore and Eleni
Kilgore's divorce. Specifically, we consider whether the
district court abused its discretion or' otherwise erred
when it concluded that Eleni was entitled to her community
property share of Richard's pension benefits even though
Richard had not yet retired, reduced this amount to judgment,
and ordered Richard to pay Eleni a monthly amount it deemed
fair. We also consider whether the district court erred when
it concluded that Richard's vacation and sick pay were
omitted from the divorce decree and thereafter divided them
equally between Richard and Eleni.
that a district court has significant discretion when
determining whether to grant or deny a non-employee
spouse's request for pension payments before the employee
spouse has retired and conclude that the district court did
not abuse that discretion here. Further, the district court
did not err in considering the omitted assets and dividing
them equally between the parties.
Kilgore and Eleni Kilgore were married in December 1992.
During their marriage, both worked for Clark County-Richard
as a marshal and Eleni as a teacher-and received retirement
benefits through the Nevada Public Employees' Retirement
System (PERS). They divorced in March 2013, and the divorce
decree provided for the division of each party's PERS
benefits in accordance with applicable
caselaw. The decree did not address vacation or
sick pay earned and accrued during the marriage.
March 2015, Eleni moved the district court to compel Richard
to begin paying her share of his PERS benefits because he had
become eligible for retirement. She also requested a one-half
interest in Richard's vacation and sick pay earned and
accrued during their marriage, noting that such assets were
omitted from the divorce decree. In June 2015, the court
temporarily denied Eleni's request for payment because
Richard had been terminated from his position as a marshal
and earned no other income. The court also deferred resolving
the vacation and sick pay issue.
June 2015, the district court entered a qualified domestic
relations order (QDRO) dividing Richard's PERS benefits
and a QDRO dividing Eleni's PERS benefits. The QDRO
dividing Richard's PERS benefits recognized Richard as
the participant in PERS and Eleni as the alternate payee. It
"assign[ed] to Eleni [ 1 the right to receive a portion
of the benefits payable to a plan Participant" "at
the first possible date."
was reinstated as a marshal in January 2016. Shortly
thereafter, the district court ordered him to start paying
Eleni $1, 200 per month toward her share of his PERS
benefits. Richard argued that he planned to work until his
PERS account reached full maturity and should not be
obligated to pay until he retires. Over the course of 2016
and 2017, the court held a series of evidentiary hearings and
status checks to resolve the dispute, and spent a significant
amount of time reviewing Richard's financial situation.
2017, the district court concluded that because Richard was
eligible to retire in 2011, Eleni was entitled to her share
of Richard's PERS benefits even though he had not yet
retired. It acknowledged, however, that PERS would not pay
Eleni anything until Richard retired. It therefore calculated
the amount Richard owed to Eleni, retroactive to the date of
Eleni's motion in March 2015, and reduced that sum to
judgment, collectible by any lawful means. Having extensively
reviewed Richard's financial situation, it ordered
Richard to pay Eleni $350 per month toward the judgment,
instead of the $2, 455 per month it calculated Eleni would
have received from PERS had Richard retired. The district
court also ordered Richard to pay Eleni for vacation and sick
pay that he earned during their marriage. Richard's
timely appeal and Eleni's cross-appeal followed.
challenges the district court's finding that Eleni is
entitled to PERS benefits even though he has not yet retired.
On cross-appeal, Eleni challenges the district court's
reduction of monthly payments. Richard also challenges the
district court's ruling on vacation and sick pay.
appeal requires review of the district court's
distribution of community property and its factual findings
and conclusions of law. We review the district court's
distribution of Richard's PERS benefits and vacation and
sick pay deferentially for an abuse of discretion. See
Wolff v. Wolff, 112 Nev. 1355, 1359, 929 P.2d 916, 919
(1996). "This court's rationale for not substituting
its own judgment for that of the district court, absent an
abuse of discretion, is that the district court has a better
opportunity to observe parties and evaluate the situation.
Id. Further, we review a district court's
factual findings deferentially and will not set them aside
unless they are clearly erroneous or not supported by
substantial evidence. Ogawa v. Ogawa, 125 Nev. 660,
668, 221 P.3d 699, 704 (2009). Conclusions of law, however,
we review de novo. Dewey v. Redev. Agency of Reno,
119 Nev. 87, 93, 64 P.3d 1070, 1075 (2003).
district court's distribution of ...