461 N.W.2d 122 (S.D. 1990), 16917, Ryken v. Ryken

Docket Nº:16917.
Citation:461 N.W.2d 122
Opinion Judge:The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wuest
Party Name:Patti Rae RYKEN, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Larry L. RYKEN, Defendant and Appellant.
Attorney:Arthur L. Rusch of Bogue, Weeks, Rusch & Billings, Vermillion, South Dakota, Attorney for plaintiff and appellee.
Case Date:September 12, 1990
Court:Supreme Court of South Dakota

Page 122

461 N.W.2d 122 (S.D. 1990)

Patti Rae RYKEN, Plaintiff and Appellee,


Larry L. RYKEN, Defendant and Appellant.

No. 16917.

Supreme Court of South Dakota.

September 12, 1990

Rehearing Denied Oct. 17, 1990.

Argued May 22, 1990.

Page 123

Arthur L. Rusch of Bogue, Weeks, Rusch & Billings, Vermillion, for plaintiff and appellee.

John E. Burke, Sioux Falls, for defendant and appellant.

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WUEST, Chief Justice.

Pattie R. Ryken (Wife) was granted a divorce from Larry L. Ryken (Husband) on the grounds of extreme cruelty and irreconcilable differences. Husband now appeals from certain parts of this judgment. We affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.

Husband and Wife were married on June 15, 1982. Wife had been married twice before. She had three children by her first marriage, and none by her second. Husband had been married once before and had three children by this marriage. Prior to this marriage, Wife owned only an inexpensive car, her clothing and personal effects. Her education consisted of one year of college, and her work history was limited to part-time sales positions. Her first husband paid her $300 per month in child support. Husband, on the other hand, possessed a college degree and owned, among other things, the Yankton Livestock Company and three-quarters of an interest in the R & R Cattle Company.

The day before Husband and Wife were married, they executed an antenuptial agreement wherein both parties gave up any claim on the personal or real property of the other. Husband contends that Wife had several days to review this agreement and that she, in fact, represented to him she had discussed this agreement with two relatives of hers who had legal backgrounds. Wife, however, disputed this contention claiming the first time she was presented with the agreement was the night before the wedding and even then she did not read the agreement, but just signed it. The antenuptial agreement made no provision for Wife and did not disclose the assets of either party.

After the marriage, Husband and Wife purchased a house in Yankton, South Dakota, where they lived with Wife's three children and the Husband's three children. The two decided to remodel this house shortly thereafter. Wife made all of the arrangements for the remodeling which ended up costing $350,000. Wife also cared for the house and children, handled the family finances and helped occasionally at the Husband's sales barn.

In 1985, the marriage began to deteriorate. The record reflects Husband physically and verbally abused Wife, apparently motivated by jealousy. In April of 1985, Wife left Husband. Wife took along with her $4,500 in cash, some furniture, a 1975 Ford Granada and a 1985 Cadillac. Wife also took Husband's daughter with her and continued to take care of her for a period of time. Husband consented to this. In December of 1985, Wife filed for divorce. Her complaint, which was later amended, alleged extreme cruelty and irreconcilable differences as the grounds for her divorce request. Two years later, Wife was granted a divorce from Husband on the grounds of extreme cruelty and irreconcilable differences.

Pursuant to its divorce judgment, the trial court divided the parties' property, and awarded Wife both $25,000 in permanent alimony and $625 per month for forty-eight months ($30,000) as rehabilitative alimony. Wife was also awarded $6,500 in attorney's fees and $4,000 in appraiser's fees. The trial court disregarded the antenuptial agreement stating that it was inapplicable to a divorce action. Husband appealed from this judgment alleging the trial court erred in dismissing the antenuptial agreement and, alternatively, in dividing the property and in awarding rehabilitative alimony, attorney fees and appraiser's fees.

In Ryken v. Ryken, 440 N.W.2d 300 (S.D.1989) (Sabers, J., specially concurring; Wuest, C.J., concurring in part, and dissenting in part) (Ryken I ), this Court determined that the trial court erred in disregarding the antenuptial agreement. We found such agreement did contemplate a divorce action and thus it should not have been dismissed on the grounds it did not. We then remanded this issue for the trial court to determine if the antenuptial agreement was to be rejected on other grounds or given effect. Additionally, we held the trial court abused its discretion in awarding rehabilitative alimony to Wife. We also reversed and remanded all aspects of the property division except valuations placed

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upon individual assets. Finally, we held the trial court abused its discretion in awarding only a portion of Wife's requested attorney and appraiser's fees. Thus, we remanded this issue to the trial court as well.

On remand, the trial court refused to enforce the antenuptial agreement on the grounds it did not provide for Wife at all, and Husband did not disclose assets to Wife prior to signing the agreement. With respect to the property division, the trial court determined the Wife should receive 10% of the total marital property (or $229,531) less the value of the cash, furniture and the Ford Granada taken by Wife after the couple's separation. Thus, the Wife received $215,531 from the property division. The trial court also awarded the Wife $40,000 in alimony to be paid in a lump sum. Finally, the trial court directed Husband to pay 90% of Wife's attorney fees ($22,475) appraiser fees ($12,190) and accountant fees ($2,756).

Husband again appeals the judgment of the trial court. He contends the trial court erred in refusing to enforce the antenuptial agreement. He...

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