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Division of Property

MASSACHUSETTS: Sampson v. Sampson, 62 Mass. App. Ct. 366, 816 N.E.2d 999 (2004).
The trial court erred by awarding the husband 71% of the proceeds from the sale of the marital home, while awarding the wife a substantial deferred distribution of the husband's retirement benefits. The result was to divide the liquid marital assets unfairly in the husband's favor. The marital estate was not large enough to permit an immediate offset of the husband's entire pension, but the case was remanded with a suggestion that the wife be awarded part of her interest in the pension as a lump-sum immediate offset award, so that she would receive a larger percentage of the liquid assets. The trial court also erred by valuing the wife's business under the capitalization-of- earnings method, without treating a reasonable salary for the wife as a business expense.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Robertson v. Robertson, ___ N.C. App. ___, 605 S.E.2d 667 (2004).
Where the trial court made a monetary award which appeared to be in excess of the payor's liquid assets, the trial court erred by failing to consider as a division factor the adverse financial consequences of liquidating property to pay the award. The trial court did not err by using a time-based coverture fraction to divide a defined contribution plan. The trial court erred by not considering the effect of a $7,000 decrease in the value of the marital home after separation, where the decrease was due to lack of maintenance attributable to both parties.
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NORTH DAKOTA: Horner v. Horner, 686 N.W.2d 131 (N.D. 2004).
The trial court did not err by making an equal division of the marital estate, even though the parties' total time together (including premarital cohabitation) was only three years. The wife left a steady job with health benefits to marry the husband and gave up her plans to purchase her own home. After marrying the husband, she was able to find only part-time work, and she did not receive any spousal support. The husband had also dissipated marital property by giving it to his father. The division made by the trial court was not in any event actually equal, as the wife received $12,000 less than the husband did when her deferred monetary award was reduced to present value.
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NEW YORK: Galvin v. Francis, 20 A.D.3d 550, 799 N.Y.S.2d 547 (2005)
The trial court did not err by awarding the husband none of the marital property titled in the wife's name, where the parties kept their finances separate during the marriage, and the husband did not provide any significant financial resources to the marital estate.
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PENNSYLVANIA: Moran v. Moran, 839 A.2d 1091 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2004).
The trial court erred by ordering the sale of marital real property located near the seashore. The husband had expressed a desire to retain the property. The wife's interest could be paid by the husband if he refinanced the property, and the sale would result in unnecessary broker's fees and unfavorable tax consequences.
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NEW YORK: Delvito v. Delvito, 2004 N.Y. Slip Op. 02707, 775 N.Y.S.2d 71 (2004).
Property held as tenants by the entirety cannot be divided before the entry of a divorce decree without the consent of both spouses.
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CONNECTICUT: Calo-Turner v. Turner, 83 Conn. App. 53, 847 A.2d 1085 (2004).
Property acquired after the date of separation is subject to division upon divorce. On the facts of individual cases, that property may be divided usually, or even not divided at all. But the presence of case law affirming such a result, where reached by the trial court, does not mean that a different result is an abuse of discretion. On the facts, an essentially equal division of such property is affirmed.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Painter v. Painter-Jamieson, ___ N.C. App. ___ 594 S.E.2d 217, review withdrawn, 2004 WL 1595686 (N.C. 2004).
Where the husband was deceased, a monetary award made to the wife under the law of equitable distribution was a transfer of property to the wife, and not an obligation owed by the deceased spouse's estate. Thus, the award went directly to the wife and was not subject to claims of superior creditors under the law of decedent's estates.
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MARYLAND: Brewer v. Brewer, 156 Md. App. 77, 846 A.2d 1 (2004).
Minor inaccuracies in the valuation of certain accounts, whose balances fluctuated regularly, were not reversible error. The court may make a monetary award to divide equitably the parties' interests in jointly titled marital property even after ordering that the property be sold and the proceeds divided equally. Inherited furniture does not transmute into marital property when used in the marital home.
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OREGON: In re Marriage of Kollman, 195 Or. App. 108, 96 P.3d 884 (2004).
The husband's right to vote certain shares of stock owned by the wife constituted divisible property for purposes of equitable distribution. On the facts, the voting rights were property awarded to the wife despite the existence of a formal document in which the wife had given the rights to the husband during the marriage.
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WISCONSIN: In re Marriage of LeMere, ___ Wis. 2d ____, 663 N.W.2d 789 (2003).
The trial court erred by awarding the husband 54% of the marital property, based upon extraordinary direct financial contributions to the operation of a successful business. The court did not give sufficient consideration to the wife's homemaker contributions.
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MISSISSIPPI: McLaurin v. McLaurin, 853 So. 2d 1279 (Miss. Ct. App. 2003).
The trial court did not err in awarding the wife 51.7% of the marital estate. The court did not award the wife 50% of some assets, but its overall division was equitable. The trial court properly gave the husband credit for paying off a truck debt. The parties had agreed that the husband would be liable for the debt, but he had paid the debt off before the agreement was signed.
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MISSOURI: Bean v. Bean, 115 S.W.3d 388 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003).
The trial court did not err by awarding the husband only 36% of the marital assets, and less than 21% of the marital estate, after a six-year marriage. The husband's income was much greater than the income of the wife, because the wife put her own career plans on hold to support those of the husband. In addition, the husband agreed that the wife could retain the marital home, which was the single largest marital asset.
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NEW YORK: Parker v. Parker, 196 Misc. 2d 672, 766 N.Y.S.2d 315 (Sup. Ct. 2003).
Even though an antenuptial agreement provided that all property owned separately by either party was separate property, the court granted a motion to restrain the wife from disposing of $3 million in lottery winnings held in her name alone. The husband had alleged a valid claim that the parties had a joint venture to play the lottery, so that the husband had an ownership interest in at least some of the proceeds.
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