Mandate Issued: 10/30/2019
FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF COMANCHE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA
HONORABLE GERALD F. NEUWIRTH, TRIAL JUDGE
S. Roose, ROOSE & ROOSE LAW FIRM, P.C., Lawton, Oklahoma,
Stephen K. Newcombe, NEWCOMBE, REDMAN, ROSS & NEWCOMBE,
P.C., Lawton, Oklahoma, for Respondent/Appellee
L. GOODMAN, JUDGE
Allen B. Broadbent (Husband) appeals a November 14, 2017,
decree of dissolution of marriage dividing the marital estate
and awarding Clorie M. Broadbent (Wife) custody of the
parties' minor children. Based upon our review of the
record and applicable law, we affirm.
The parties were married on April 28, 2006, and two children
were born of the marriage. Husband filed a petition for
divorce on January 27, 2016, requesting sole custody of the
minor children and that the trial court equitably divide the
parties' real and personal property. On March 23, 2016,
the court issued a minute order awarding the parties
temporary joint custody of the minor children.
On March 16, 2017, Husband filed an amended petition,
contesting the court's jurisdiction to divide his U.S.
Army retirement pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 1408, the
Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA).
Husband asserted he was domiciled in Oklahoma solely for the
purpose of serving in the U.S. Army and that Oklahoma was not
his permanent home. Wife answered, asserting Husband had
invoked the jurisdiction of the court when he requested
affirmative relief in his original petition.
A trial was subsequently held on March 22, 2017, and May 10,
2017. At the conclusion of the trial, the court awarded Wife
custody of the minor children with standard visitation to
Husband. The trial court further determined it had
jurisdiction to divide Husband's military retirement,
finding Wife was entitled to 24.4% of the benefits. Husband
A trial court is vested with discretion in matters involving
custody. Rowe v. Rowe, 2009 OK 66, ¶ 3, 218
P.3d 887, 889. An appellate court "will not disturb the
trial court's judgment regarding custody absent an abuse
of discretion or a finding that the decision is clearly
contrary to the weight of the evidence." Daniel v.
Daniel, 2001 OK 117, ¶ 21, 42 P.3d 863, 871.
"The burden is upon the party appealing from the custody
and visitation award to show that the trial court's
decision is erroneous and contrary to the child's best
interests." Id. "In reviewing such custody
orders, deference will be given to the trial court since the
trial court is better able to determine controversial
evidence by its observation of the parties, the witnesses and
their demeanor." Hoedebeck v. Hoedebeck, 1997
OK CIV APP 69, ¶ 10, 948 P.2d 1240, 1243 (quoting
Newell v. Nash, 1994 OK CIV APP 143, 889 P.2d 345).
For his first assertion of error on appeal, Husband asserts
the trial court lacked jurisdiction to divide his military