Waseca County District Court File No. 81-FA-08-1420
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wright, Judge
This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2010).
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Wright, Judge; and Larkin, Judge.
UNPUBLISHED OPINION WRIGHT, Judge
In this appeal from the district court's judgment dissolving the parties' marriage, appellant-husband challenges the district court's decision to award respondent-wife a lien for approximately one-half of the value of real property owned by the parties during the marriage. Appellant-husband argues that the district court erroneously determined that certain real property was marital property. We affirm.
Respondent-wife Lori M. Matz petitioned to dissolve her marriage to appellant-husband Troy M. Matz in September 2008. Following a trial, the district court issued findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a judgment and decree dissolving the marriage. The district court divided the parties' property, established custody of the parties' minor children, and ordered husband to pay child support.
The real property in dispute in this appeal is located on State Highway 13 North in Waseca. Husband's parents purchased the property in December 1995, paying $25,000 and financing the balance of the purchase price with a mortgage for $100,000. Husband began residing at a home on the property in December 1995, shortly after the purchase. In May 1996, wife began living with husband at the property. And in 2006, husband's parents transferred the property by quitclaim deed to husband and wife.
The property was significantly renovated between 1996 and the parties' marriage on June 22, 2002. Husband and wife resided together at the property until spring 2008, except for a short period before the marriage when wife lived elsewhere. Husband's parents never resided at the property.
During the dissolution proceedings, husband asserted that the property is non-marital property because he acquired it before the marriage. At trial, husband testified that his parents agreed to purchase the property on his behalf in 1995 because his credit was poor. He testified that he paid his parents $25,000 for the down payment at the time they purchased the property and continued to pay them in subsequent years until the mortgage debt was satisfied. Husband's mother testified that she and husband's father agreed to purchase the home for husband, although they did not memorialize this agreement in writing. She also testified that, when she received funds for the property from husband, she deposited them in the checking account of husband's parents and paid a corresponding amount to the bank for the mortgage debt. According to her testimony, she documented many of these transactions in her checkbook ledger. Notations such as "Troy's house" or "Troy's payment" appear in her checkbook ledger next to several of the deposits, which she testified were payments from husband for the property.
Husband's parents paid the mortgage debt in full in 2000. And both husband and his mother testified that, between 1995 and 2000, husband paid his parents the full amount of the mortgage debt. The parties stipulated that, other than the checkbook ledger of husband's mother, the record contains no documentation of husband's alleged payments to his parents.
Finding that the only written evidence relating to title of the property is the quitclaim deed, the district court determined that the property was acquired during the marriage and that husband failed to establish "with credible evidence" that the property is a non-marital asset. After concluding that the property is marital property, the district court awarded it to husband subject to a marital lien in wife's favor in the ...