Officially released September 25, 2018.
In short: nothing to see here. The trial court property considered the statutory criteria and did not abuse its discretion.
The parties were married for four years and had no children in common. Prior to the marriage, they purchased the marital residence, which was titled to a jointly owned LLC, with 65% owned by Husband and 35% owned by Wife. Husband contributed 78% of the down payment and Wife 22%. Husband contributed two thirds of the expenses to maintain the property and Wife one third.
During the course of the marriage, for purposes of protecting it from Husband’s creditors, the parties changed the ownership in the LLC so that Wife owned 75% and Husband owned 25% for purposes of Wife borrowing $350,000 against the property for agreed upon purposes of education of Husband’s children and home improvement. Husband testified that Wife used $162,000 of the proceeds to purchase a condominium. Wife disputed this claim.
The Court found Husband primarily at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. It found, based on Husband’s testimony, that Wife did use proceeds from the loan to purchase the condominium. It ordered that Wife retain her condominium and receive 40% of the proceeds for sale of the marital residence.
Wife appealed from judgment of dissolution claiming that the trial court (1) made a clearly erroneous factual finding that she used proceeds from the loan to purchase the condominium, and (2) abused its discretion in failing to award her more than 40% of the proceeds from sale of the marital home. Wife argued that the trial court failed to consider her contribution to the preservation of the marital residence.
The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment, finding that the trial court properly considered the appropriate statutory factors and its findings were not clearly erroneous.