Becker v. Becker – Case Brief Summary (North Dakota)

In Becker v. Becker, 262 N.W.2d 478, 484 (N.D. 1978) the Court held, unless a trial court makes an initial award of spousal support or expressly reserves jurisdiction over the issue, the court lacks jurisdiction under N.D.C.C. § 14-05-24 to subsequently modify its decision and award spousal support.

The original divorce decree in Becker stated, "'neither party shall pay alimony to the other,'" and that language was incorporated from the parties' stipulation and property settlement agreement found to be "fair and equitable" by the trial court. Id. at 480, 484.

The Court ruled the contract provision was unambiguous, and the "parties are bound by their contract provision for no alimony even if the court is not." Id. at 484.