Winnie Wu

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Case Synopsis

After her ex-husband, Grady Byrd, suddenly stopped making payments pursuant to their 2014 divorce decree, Caterina Byrd moved the district court to enforce same. During the proceedings, Grady revealed that he had waived his military retirement pay in exchange for veterans’ disability benefits, and therefore Caterina was entitled to significantly less money than she had originally anticipated. Caterina moved the district court for NRCP 60(b)(6) relief, arguing that she would not have agreed to certain terms in the marital settlement agreement had she known Grady would waive his military retirement pay. The district court ordered an evidentiary hearing, and Grady’s request to appear by audio-visual transmission was summarily denied.

The district court ultimately granted Caterina’s NRCP 60(b)(6) request and modified the 2014 divorce decree to award Caterina lifetime alimony and additionally ordered Grady to pay Caterina directly from his veteran’s disability benefits. Grady appealed the modification, and the Nevada Court of Appeals reversed the district court. The Court held that (1) NRCP 60(b)(6) relief was inappropriate because Caterina’s request actually sounded in a different clause than Rule 60(b)(6); (2) federal law preempts state courts from distributing alimony directly from veterans’ disability benefits; and (3) district courts must analyze the relevant SCR Part IX-B(B)(1)(6) factors and make a good cause finding when a party requests to appear via audio-visual transmission.