Allen-Hines v. Hines, 2008-UP-198

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
PartiesKaren Allen-Hines, Appellant, v. Franklin Hines, Respondent.
Docket Number2008-UP-198
Decision Date20 March 2008

Karen Allen-Hines, Appellant, Franklin Hines, Respondent.

No. 2008-UP-198

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

March 20, 2008


Heard March 4, 2008

Appeal From Darlington County Roger E. Henderson, Family Court Judge

Cynthia Barrier Patterson, of Columbia and Robert N. Rosen, of Charleston, for Appellant.

Robert F. Gardner and J. Anthony Floyd, both of Hartsville, for Respondent.


In this divorce action, Karen Allen-Hines (Wife) appeals the family court's order denying her a special equity interest in Franklin Hines' (Husband) businesses and awarding her one year's rehabilitative alimony and partial attorney's fees. We affirm in part and remand. [1]


Husband and Wife (collectively the Hineses) married on February 14, 1998. Both Husband and Wife had been married previously. The Hineses had no children together, though each had children from their previous relationships. Husband had owned and operated a funeral home and cemetery since 1996. The Hineses met when Wife utilized Husband's services following her previous husband's death.

Husband earned a bachelor's degree in education. Husband began working at the family's funeral home in 1973 and inherited it from his mother in 1996. Before settling into his family's funeral home business, he attended college, served in the military, taught school, and worked for the United States Postal Service. In addition to the funeral home and cemetery, Husband owned several other properties, including a 75% interest in his home. Husband was 70 years old at the time of trial.

Wife earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in public administration. In 1974, Wife worked as a social worker, but she had no degree in that area. During her previous marriage, Wife raised the children and did not regularly work outside the home after 1989. Her previous husband handled all the family's finances until his death. Wife's net inheritance from her previous husband totaled approximately $1.5 million and included her home. This inheritance supported Wife and her two dependent sons. At the time of trial, this inheritance was severely depleted, and Wife possessed less than $500, 000, most of which lay in home equity and personal property. Wife was 49 years old at the time of trial.

During their marriage, the Hineses lived primarily in Wife's home from her former marriage. Husband maintained his own separate home and kept his clothes at his house until Wife constructed a closet in her home to accommodate his clothes. The Hineses also maintained separate bank accounts, except for one joint checking account they used to pay household bills. Both Husband and Wife agreed to fund this account. Despite an agreement to split household costs evenly, Husband often failed to deposit money into the joint account. As a result, Wife's funds paid most of the household bills. Wife had poor money-management skills and frequently purchased extravagant items with her funds. Wife met with a financial consultant who helped her create a budget, but she did not adhere to it. Wife attempted unsuccessfully to gain outside employment during and after the marriage.

During the marriage, Wife helped out at the funeral home and cemetery. She did not make financial contributions to Husband's business. The funeral home compensated Wife for staffing and managing the floral department. Without compensation, she also drove the limousine four or five times, attended funerals, redecorated the funeral home locations at Hartsville and Lamar, decorated the office at the cemetery, prepared lunches for Husband and his employees, delivered flowers, and generally helped out where needed. Wife also made public appearances on behalf of the funeral home. Furthermore, she introduced Husband to nationally known religious events in which she already participated. When the funeral home later began sponsoring these events, Wife arranged television broadcasts of the events. During the marriage, the funeral home and cemetery's gross sales increased by approximately $342, 058, [2] and the overall value of the funeral home increased by $396, 444.

The Hineses separated and reconciled five times during the marriage, usually due to financial stress. [3] After their final separation, Wife filed an action for separate maintenance. The family court tried this matter in June of 2004. On August 5, 2004, the family court entered an order granting divorce on the ground of one year's continuous separation and reserving jurisdiction to determine all other issues separately. On January 10, 2005, the family court entered an order awarding Wife one year of rehabilitative alimony and partial attorney's fees. The order also denied Wife a special equity interest in Husband's funeral home and cemetery. Wife filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment, which was denied. This appeal followed.


I. Special Equity

Wife argues the family court erred in declining to award her a special equity interest in Husband's business. We disagree.

The family court has jurisdiction to apportion marital property. S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-472 (Supp. 2007). In determining the most equitable apportionment of marital property, the family court must weigh all fifteen statutory factors. Id. Property acquired before the marriage or after entry of a divorce order is not marital property and, therefore, is not subject to apportionment. S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-473(2) (Supp. 2007). However, any increase in value in nonmarital property[, ] to the extent that the increase resulted directly or indirectly from efforts of the other spouse during marriage, ” is apportionable marital property. § 20-7-473(5). The increase in value need not derive from the non-owner spouse's financial contributions. Johnson v. Johnson, 296 S.C. 289, 299, 372 S.E.2d 107, 113 (Ct. App. 1988). The non-owner spouse is entitled to an equitable apportionment of any increase in value that results from the employment of his or her labor and skills.” Id. at 299, 372 S.E.2d at 113.

We find Wife is not entitled to a special equity interest in Husband's funeral home and cemetery businesses. Husband owned and operated these businesses prior to the marriage; thus, the businesses themselves are nonmarital property. Although Wife presented evidence that she performed uncompensated services in support of the business, she failed to establish a causal connection between her efforts and any portion of the increased value of Husband's businesses. Therefore, Wife is not entitled to a special equity interest in the increased value of those businesses.

II. Spousal Support

Wife argues the family court erred in awarding her one year of rehabilitative alimony instead of permanent periodic alimony. We remand this issue to the family court to make...

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