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Knobles v. Knobles

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 27, 2017

MARK KNOBLES
v.
KAY G. KNOBLES

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 364-634, DIVISION "A" HONORABLE RAYMOND S. STEIB, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, MARK KNOBLES R. Lee Eddy, III

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, KAY CHAUVIN William H. Cook, Jr.

          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Marc E. Johnson, and Hans J. Liljeberg

          MARC E. JOHNSON, JUDGE.

         Plaintiff/Appellant, Mark Knobles, appeals a judgment from the 24th Judicial District Court, Division "A," in favor of Defendant/Appellee, Kay G. Knobles, that classified a portion of his restoration retirement plan as a community asset. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The relevant facts of this appeal are as follows.

         The parties, Mark Knobles and Kay G. Knobles, were married on November 25, 1977. On December 12, 1979, Mark began his employment with the Chevron Corporation (hereinafter referred to as "Chevron") and became eligible to participate in the Chevron Retirement Plan (hereinafter referred to as "CRP") on October 29, 1980. Mark filed a petition for separation from room and board on June 15, 1988, and a petition for divorce was subsequently filed on January 13, 1989. A judgment of divorce dissolving the marriage between Mark and Kay was rendered on March 4, 1992.

         On August 29, 1996, Mark filed a petition for judicial partition of the community property. While the judicial partition was pending, Mark voluntarily terminated his employment with Chevron on May 14, 1998; however, his CRP remained intact. The parties agreed to a settlement of the community property. The parties decided that the CRP would be divided pursuant to the formula set forth in Sims v. Sims, 358 So.2d 919, 922 (La. 1978), rehearing granted on other grounds, (La. 1978). A Consent Judgment confirming the settlement was rendered on April 26, 1999. The Consent Judgment specifically stated, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED ADJUDGE AND DECREED,

that in the event that any undisclosed assets are discovered by either party, that said asset will be divided in accordance with the Louisiana Community Property laws. Undiscovered asset means anything that is not covered or is not within the description of those things which have already been described and listed in this Consent Judgment. If any other asset is discovered, that is not included within the definition or descriptions of those which have already been recited heretofore today, that asset would be referred to as an undiscovered asset.

         The judgment was later considered by Chevron to be a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (hereinafter referred to as "QDRO").

         Mark was rehired by Chevron on January 22, 2007. On that date, Mark was placed in the CRP again and began to accrue additional time of credited service. In a petition to modify the QDRO filed on February 2, 2009, Mark argued that the QDRO needed to be amended, partially due to his reemployment with Chevron. In April of 2009, Mark's compensation exceeded the applicable annual compensation limit for his CRP benefits, and he became eligible to participate in Chevron's Retirement Restoration Plan (hereinafter referred to as "Restoration Plan")-an unqualified benefit plan that was separate from the CRP.

         In response to Mark's petition, Kay filed a reconventional demand on March 23, 2009 and asserted an entitlement to a newly discovered supplemental benefit (the Restoration Plan) to Mark's CRP as a community property asset. After numerous motions and exceptions, the merits of the ...


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