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In re Marriage of Richie

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 15, 2013

In re the Marriage of: Barbara Ann Richie, petitioner, Respondent,
v.
Kenneth Eugene Richie, Sr., Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Wright County District Court File No. 86FA103008.

Susan J. Mundahl, Lucas J.M. Dawson, Mundahl Law, P.L.L.C., Maple Grove, Minnesota (for respondent).

Derek J. Rosso, Carlson & Jones, P.A., Buffalo, Minnesota (for appellant).

Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.

STONEBURNER, Judge

Appellant husband challenges the district court's division of property in this dissolution action, arguing that the district court erred or abused its discretion by (1) finding that respondent wife adequately traced a nonmarital inheritance; (2) failing to consider the debt on the hobby farm a marital debt; (3) awarding property that husband claims does not exist; and (4) failing to award him a larger share of martial property. We affirm.

FACTS

Appellant Kenneth Eugene Richie, Sr., (husband) was born in 1938, and respondent Barbara Ann Richie (wife) was born in 1939. They were married in June 1959 and lived in the same residence until they obtained separate residences in late August or early September 2010. There are four adult children of the marriage. None of the children have resided with the parties since 1992, after which the parties began to maintain separate living spaces in their home.

Wife has been a homemaker since the birth of their first child in September 1960. She was the primary caretaker of the children until they left home. Husband, who holds a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, worked full time until his retirement in 1992, and part-time as a consultant for two years thereafter. During the marriage, husband had total control of all of the parties' finances. Husband typically placed all of the parties' money in accounts in his name. Since 1994, husband has spent approximately 20 hours per week managing the parties' investments. Wife petitioned for dissolution of the marriage in May 2010.

Wife's inheritance

In 2003, wife inherited $196, 406.99 from her mother. Husband told wife that he would put her nonmarital inheritance in a "safe mutual fund" for her. He first deposited the funds, plus $5, 300 from an unidentified source, in the parties' joint account, which had a previous balance of $10, 639.78. Approximately seven days later, husband transferred $190, 000 of the funds from the joint account into three Vanguard investment accounts in the amounts of $80, 000, $60, 000, and $50, 000, respectively. Two of the accounts were in wife's name and one was in husband's name. Husband acknowledges that these transfers were funded with wife's inheritance. The funds from two of those accounts were subsequently transferred to fund three additional investment accounts in husband's name.

Wife's expert witness, forensic accountant David Kiwus, testified that, based on financial records provided by husband, he traced the nonmarital portion of each of the three accounts and used a conservative calculation of the interest that could be attributed to these funds. Kiwus provided a detailed analysis of his calculations and, at the close of evidence, provided a supplemental report tracing the inheritance funds up to May 11, 2010, when wife petitioned for dissolution and two accounts were moved into an Edward Jones investment account. Kiwus testified that, as of that date, wife's nonmarital inheritance was valued at $256, 583.

Rockford hobby farm

Less than a year before the dissolution petition was filed, husband bought a hobby farm in Rockford Township. The hobby farm had a 2011 tax-assessed value of $90, 000. The land was purchased and a pole barn was built on the land with a $181, 202 loan in husband's name from Bankwest. The loan is secured by pledged marital assets in one of the parties' Vanguard accounts. Wife was not aware of how the hobby farm purchase was financed. The district court awarded the hobby farm and the Vanguard account ...


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