Elizabeth E. Stanosheck, appellee
Joseph P. Jeanette, appellant.
Divorce: Appeal and Error. In actions for
dissolution of marriage, an appellate court reviews the case
de novo on the record to determine whether there has been an
abuse of discretion by the trial judge.
Judges: Words and Phrases. A judicial abuse
of discretion exists if the reasons or rulings of a trial
judge are clearly untenable, unfairly depriving a litigant of
a substantial right and denying just results in matters
submitted for disposition.
Property Division: Appeal and Error. As a
general principle, the date upon which a marital estate is
valued should be rationally related to the property composing
the marital estate. The date of valuation is reviewed for an
abuse of the trial court's discretion.
Divorce: Property Division. In a divorce
action, the purpose of a property division is to distribute
the marital assets equitably between the parties.
Property Division. Equitable property division under
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-365 (Reissue 2008) is a three-step
process. The first step is to classify the parties'
property as marital or nonmarital. The second step is to
value the marital assets and marital liabilities of the
parties. The third step is to calculate and divide the net
marital estate between the parties.
_ . The ultimate test in determining the appropriateness of a
property division is fairness and reasonableness as
determined by the facts of each case.
Divorce: Property Division. As a general
rule, all property accumulated and acquired by either spouse
during the marriage is part of the marital estate, unless it
falls within an exception to the general rule.
Divorce: Property Division: Proof. Where
there is nothing on the record to show the source of
premarital funds, they should be considered part of the
Neb. 139] 9. Property Division: Proof. The
burden of proof rests with the party claiming that property
Divorce: Property Division: Pensions. Under Neb.
Rev. Stat. § 42-366(8) (Reissue 2008), the general rule
is that amounts added to and interest accrued on pension or
retirement accounts which have been earned during the
marriage are part of the marital estate, but contributions
before marriage or after dissolution are not assets of the
_: _: _ . Investment earnings accrued during the marriage on
the nonmarital portion of a retirement account may be
classified as nonmarital where the party seeking the
classification proves: (1) The growth is readily identifiable
and traceable to the nonmarital portion of the account and
(2) the growth is due solely to inflation, market forces, or
guaranteed rate rather than the direct or indirect effort,
contribution, or fund management of either spouse.
from the District Court for Cass County: Jeffrey J. Funke,
M. Delaney and A. Bree Robbins, of Reagan, Melton &
Delaney, L.L.R, for appellant.
C. Martinez, of Anderson, Creager & Wittstruck, P.C..
L.L.O., and Megan M. Schutt, Senior Certified Law Student,
Wright, Connolly, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, and Kelch,
JJ. Stacy, J.
NATURE OF CASE
appeal from a decree of dissolution, error is assigned to the
district court's classification, valuation, and division
of certain marital property. After a de novo review, we find
no abuse of discretion and affirm the district court's
judgment in all respects but one-the division of the
parties' retirement accounts. As it regards the
retirement accounts, [294 Neb. 140] we vacate the decree in
part and remand the cause for further proceedings.
E. Stanosheck (Elizabeth) and loseph P. leanette (loseph)
were married in 2008. Elizabeth filed for dissolution in
lanuary 2014. From the time the divorce was filed until a few
months before trial, the parties lived together in the
marital home. They had no joint debts other than the mortgage
on their home, a loan against loseph's retirement
account, and various household expenses. loseph paid the
majority of these expenses, and Elizabeth reimbursed him $600
to $800 per month. During the pendency of the action, a
temporary order was entered on the agreement of the parties,
requiring each to contribute payment toward the joint debts
and home expenses, with Elizabeth paying 40 percent and
loseph paying 60 percent.
was held in lanuary 2015. The parties reached a comprehensive
property settlement agreement, so trial was limited to just a
few contested issues: (1) whether the marital estate should
be valued at the time of trial or the time of filing, (2) how
to divide the remaining proceeds from the sale of the marital
home, and (3) whether loseph was entitled to set off as
nonmarital property a portion of the market growth to his
asked the court to value the marital estate at the time of
trial, and loseph asked that it be valued at the time the
dissolution was filed. The district court found the date of
trial was the more appropriate valuation date, reasoning:
Though the evidence indicates that the parties were not
actively spending time together, such as eating meals
together or engaging in social activities together, the
parties were still married, still residing in the home
together, and still sharing household expenses.
[294 Neb. 141] Therefore, the Court finds that the valuation
date for the division of assets and debts should be the date
of trial herein.
Division of Proceeds From Sale of Marital Home
the marriage, Joseph took out a $50, 000 loan against his
retirement account to contribute to building the parties'
home. Payments on the loan were made every 2 weeks by
withholding sums from Joseph's paycheck. At the time of
trial, Joseph had paid back $12, 000 on the loan. The marital
home was sold prior to trial. The parties agreed to divide a
portion of the net sale proceeds immediately and held $50,
000 from the sale in trust, with the agreement that $38, 000
of that sum would be used to repay the balance of the loan
against Joseph's retirement account. The parties
disagreed as to how the remaining $12, 000 should be divided.
Elizabeth asked that it be split equally between the parties,
and Joseph asked to be awarded the entire $12, 000 as
reimbursement for the loan payments made during the marriage.
The district court found ...