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Cases of Interest: Factors in Award
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ARKANSAS: Hadden v. Hadden, ___ Ark. ___, 897 S.W.2d 568 (1995).
The husband's payment of college expenses for the parties' adult daughter was not a sufficient reason for refusing to distribute an equal share of that money to the wife.
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COLORADO: In re Marriage of Casias, 962 P.2d 999 (Colo. Ct. App. 1998).
The trial court has discretion to determine how heavily to weigh the parties' contributions versus their economic needs.
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FLORIDA: Shoffner v. Shoffner, 744 So. 2d 1157 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1999).
The trial court failed to make the required findings of fact to support the award of either alimony or equitable distribution; therefore, the judgment had to be reversed and remanded for findings.
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FLORIDA: Bell v. Bell, 642 So. 2d 1173 (Fla. DCA 1994).
The disproportionate award of marital assets to the wife could not be justified by the husband's incarceration for child molestation, nor could it be supported on the ground that he allegedly would be unable to manage his property while imprisoned.
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FLORIDA: Williams v. Williams, 686 So. 2d 805 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1997).
Neither the nine-year length of the parties' marriage nor the husband's contribution of income and substantial premarital assets justified an unequal division of marital assets in his favor.
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FLORIDA: Horne v. Horne, 711 So. 2d 1310 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1998).
Neither the wife's frugality nor the husband's decision to seek a dissolution without attempting marriage counseling was a legally sufficient basis for an unequal division of their marital property.
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HAWAII: Markham v. Markham, ___ Haw. App. ___, 909 P.2d 602 (1996).
The statutory factor allowing the court to consider the "respective merits of the parties" refers only to a spouse's role in the accumulation or preservation of property and not to the personal conduct of a spouse.
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INDIANA: Roberts v. Roberts, 670 N.E.2d 72 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996).
A professional degree earned during marriage is not a marital asset, but the degree holder's increased earning capacity may be considered as justification for an unequal division of other assets.
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INDIANA: In re Marriage of Stetler, 657 N.E.2d 395 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).
Awarding the husband 90% of the marital assets was not erroneous, in view of his superior contributions through which virtually all marital assets were acquired.
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INDIANA: Hacker v. Hacker, 659 N.E.2d 1104 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).
The husband's potential inheritance of a family farm was too speculative to consider as an economic circumstance justifying an unequal distribution in the wife's favor, although his continued rent-free use of the farm could be taken into account.
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IOWA: In re Marriage of Plasencia, 541 N.W.2d 923 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995).
An advanced degree earned during marriage is not a marital asset, although its potential to increase the future earnings of the degree holder is a factor to consider when determining the equitable division of property.
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KENTUCKY: Dotson v. Dotson, 864 S.W.2d 900 (Ky. 1993).
The trial court should not have granted the wife 85% of the marital estate simply because most of the marital property was derived from the nonmarital assets she brought to the marriage.
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LOUISIANA: Barrow v. Barrow, 669 So. 2d 622 (La. Ct. App. 1996).
The husband was not entitled to reimbursement for his financial contributions to the wife's degree in nursing, where he earned nearly $2 million during the period in which she attended school and he did not expect to enjoy a higher standard of living upon her receipt of the degree.
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MASSACHUSETTS: Moriarty v. Stone, 41 Mass. App. Ct. 151, 668 N.E.2d 1338 (1996).
The parties' contributions during their 10-year period of cohabitation before marriage were properly considered by the trial court as a factor in the division of their property.
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MICHIGAN: Byington v. Byington, ___ Mich. App. ___, 568 N.W.2d 141 (1997).
A lucrative compensation package earned by the husband during separation was marital property, but his contribution to the acquisition of the package could be considered as a factor in dividing the marital estate.
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MISSISSIPPI: Driste v. Driste, 738 So. 2d 763 (Miss. Ct. App. 1998).
Evidence of fault, including adultery, may be admitted to assist in determining equitable distribution of marital property.
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MISSOURI: Shook v. Shook, 997 S.W.2d 103 (Mo. Ct. App. 1999).
An award of 63% of the marital property to the husband and 37% to the wife was equitable in light of the ages of the husband and the wife, among other things.
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MISSOURI: Held v. Held, 896 S.W.2d 709 (Mo. Ct. App. 1995).
The trial court did not abuse its discretion by awarding the marital home to the wife while assigning to the husband the responsibility for any indebtedness owed to his parents for the home.
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MISSOURI: Knapp v. Knapp, 874 S.W.2d 520 (Mo. Ct. App. 1994).
Property division was not inequitable, even though the wife's entire pension was set aside as her nonmarital property, given that she did not acquire Social Security benefits through her employment as a teacher while the husband did acquire Social Security benefits through his employment.
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MONTANA: In re Marriage of Barker, ___ Mont. ___, 870 P.2d 86 (1994).
The fact that the wife single-handedly rescued the marital home from foreclosure supported the court's conclusion that she should be awarded all the equity in the marital home.
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NEW YORK: Orofino v. Orofino, ___ A.D.2d ___, 627 N.Y.S.2d 463 (1995).
The husband's contributions in managing the parties' stock portfolio justified awarding him 60% of it, even though all other assets were divided equally.
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NEW YORK: Teich v. Teich, ___ A.D.2d ___, 658 N.Y.S.2d 599 (1997).
The husband could not be ordered to file a joint income tax return with the wife in place of the separate returns already filed or to cooperate in filing amended joint returns, but any adverse financial consequences of his failure to sign the joint or amended returns proffered by the wife could be taken into account in distributing the parties' marital property.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Smith v. Smith, ___ N.C. ___, 444 S.E.2d 420 (1994).
The trial court must make ultimate findings of fact as to whether postseparation appreciation of the marital estate is active or passive.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Minter v. Minter, 111 N.C. App. 321, 432 S.E.2d 720 (1993).
Although husband failed to show that his separate property was the source of currently owned assets, the trial court was obligated to consider husband's separate property contributions as a distributional factor.
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NORTH DAKOTA: Linrud v. Linrud, 552 N.W.2d 343 (N.D. 1996).
It was error for the trial court to divide the parties' property in proportion to their incomes without an additional explanation for the substantial disparity in the division.
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OHIO: Dragojevic-Wiczen v. Wiczen, 101 Ohio App. 3d 152, 655 N.E.2d 222 (1995).
A disproportionate award of marital property to the wife was justified by the husband's criminal conviction and incarceration.
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OHIO: Smith v. Smith, 91 Ohio App. 3d 248, 632 N.E.2d 555 (1993) (published 1994).
Social Security is not a marital asset but must be considered when equitably allocating pension benefits.
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OKLAHOMA: Kittredge v. Kittredge, 911 P.2d 903 (Okla. 1995).
The parties' divorce decree was not void on the theory that it improperly divided the husband's future earnings in violation of the state equitable distribution statute, where the husband had agreed to pay the wife a percentage of his future income in lieu of property division.
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OREGON: In re Marriage of Pugh, 138 Or. App. 63, 906 P.2d 829 (1995).
Even though the husband's personal injury settlement was a marital asset, and even though he failed to rebut the presumption that the wife contributed equally to the acquisition of the settlement, the serious and permanent nature of his injury entitled him to a disproportionately greater share of it.
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OREGON: In re Marriage of Massee, 195 Or. 247, 970 P.2d 1203 (1999).
Lower courts did not adequately consider wife's contributions as a homemaker during the parties' two-year marriage when equitably distributing their property.
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OREGON: In re Marriage of Michaels, 158 Or. App. 58, 970 P.2d 692 (1999).
The wife's economic needs stemming from her health problems justified awarding her the majority of the marital assets despite the husband's arguably greater contributions to the acquisition of marital assets.
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PENNSYLVANIA: Ressler v. Ressler, ___ Pa. Super. ___, 644 A.2d 753 (1994).
The trial court did not err by considering the husband's postseparation lump-sum severance pay when calculating the equitable distribution of the estate, even though the severance pay was nonmarital property.
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RHODE ISLAND: Becker v. Perkins-Becker, 669 A.2d 524 (R.I. 1996).
The enhanced earning capacity of one spouse from an advanced degree acquired during the marriage is not marital property subject to distribution upon marriage dissolution.
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SOUTH CAROLINA: Pool v. Pool, ___ S.C. ___, 467 S.E.2d 753 (Ct. App. 1996).
Awarding the husband 60% of the marital assets was not an abuse of discretion, where he made the greater direct contributions and the parties' indirect contributions were equal.
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TENNESSEE: McClellan v. McClellan, 873 S.W.2d 350 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1993).
Marital residence which was purchased with husband's separate funds but titled in both spouses' names was marital property, but trial court did not err in awarding home to husband.
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TENNESSEE: Brock v. Brock, 941 S.W.2d 896 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1997).
Premarital property which no longer exists cannot be classified and distributed upon divorce, but a spouse's contribution of premarital property is a factor for consideration in distributing marital property.
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TEXAS: Panozzo v. Panozzo, 904 S.W.2d 780 (Tex. Ct. App. 1995).
Awarding all the marital assets to the wife did not constitute an abuse of discretion in view of the fact that the husband, an Italian citizen living in Italy, was beyond the court's jurisdiction and had defied the court's temporary child support orders.
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TEXAS: In re Marriage of DeVine, 869 S.W.2d 415 (Tex. Ct. App. 1993).
An award which held the wife accountable to the community estate for the losses attributable to her fraudulent investments and then granted the wife only 40% of the community assets because of her fraud did not constitute a double recovery for the husband.
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VERMONT: Wall v. Moore, ___ Vt. ___, 704 A.2d 775 (1997).
The entire length of the parties' relationship, including years preceding their marriage, could be considered as a factor in dividing their marital assets.
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VIRGINIA: O'Loughlin v. O'Loughlin, 20 Va. App. 522, 458 S.E.2d 323 (1995).
When fault is relevant in arriving at an award, the trial judge must consider it objectively and consider how, if at all, it quantitatively affected the marital estate or the well-being of the family.
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WASHINGTON: In re Marriage of Zahm, ___ Wash. App. ___, 955 P.2d 412 (1998).
A spouse's Social Security benefits are the separate property of that spouse, but at least when such benefits are currently being received they may be considered as a factor for the purpose of dividing property or awarding maintenance.
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