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As a general rule, a district court loses jurisdiction of the merits of a controversy once an appeal is perfected. An exception to the rule, however, permits the district court to retain jurisdiction over disputes that are collateral to the subject matter of the appeal. The exception exists to expedite the resolution of disputes in cases where collateral matters commonly surface during appeals.
The parties' dissolution decree awarded the wife the parties' acreage and mobile home, and required her to list the property for sale. The husband filed an application seeking an order requiring the wife to disburse proceeds from the sale of the acreage in accordance with the decree. The district court granted the wife's motion to dismiss the husband's application to enforce certain provisions of the parties' dissolution decree.
Did the then-pending appeal in case number 028257 deny the court jurisdiction because the husband’s application specifically referred to support allowance figures challenged in the appeal?
The appellate court concluded that the district court had jurisdiction to hear the husband's application requesting enforcement of the dissolution decree because: (1) matters raised in the husband's application were "collateral" to those pending on appeal in a case involving a request for credit against the husband's support obligation, as the instant application involved a request to enforce the dissolution decree entered dissolving the parties' marriage and directing the sale of certain property; (2) the application asked the court to enforce the judgment, rather than render a new judgment, as it should have been construed as seeking enforcement of the portions of the decree calling for the sale of the property and distribution of sale proceeds according to an express formula; and (3) there were no legal or factual bases supporting estoppel as a ground for the district court's dismissal ruling.