Bohl v. Bohl

Decision Date14 January 1983
Docket NumberNo. 54376,54376
Citation232 Kan. 557,657 P.2d 1106
PartiesNancy Lou BOHL, Appellee, v. Robert J. BOHL, Appellant.
CourtKansas Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. The district court has the duty to divide marital property in a just and reasonable manner considering: (1) the age of the parties; (2) the duration of the marriage; (3) the property owned by the parties (4) the present and future earning capacity of the parties; (5) the time, source and manner of acquisition of property; (6) family ties and obligations; (7) the question of fault, when determined; and (8) the allowance of alimony or lack thereof.

2. In a divorce action the district court is vested with broad discretion in adjusting property rights which will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear showing of abuse.

3. Discretion is abused only where no reasonable person would take the view adopted by the court.

4. In cases tried to a court, the court has wide discretion in deciding the facts so long as it stays within the confines of the evidence adduced.

5. In a divorce action where expert testimony is introduced as to accounting methods of valuing a closely held corporation, it is held it was not error for the district court to consider learned treatises and outside accounting authorities regarding the accounting methods in evidence.

Charles S. Fisher, Jr., of Fisher, Ochs & Heck, P.A., Topeka, argued the cause and was on brief, for appellant.

John W. Brand, of Stevens, Brand, Lungstrum, Golden & Winter, Lawrence, argued the cause and Gerald L. Goodell, of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds, Palmer & Wright, Topeka, was with him on brief, for appellee.

HERD, Justice:

This is a divorce action with the attendant division of property. This appeal is from the trial court's order dividing the property.

Nancy Lou Bohl and Robert J. Bohl were married June 18, 1952. They met while both were students at Kansas University. At the time of the marriage Robert was in the Air Force and Nancy had just graduated from college with a degree in education. In 1955 Robert was discharged from the Air Force. He then went to work for Nancy's father, M.W. Watson, who owned M.W. Watson Construction Company, founded in 1923. Robert worked his way up through the ranks in the company until he became president and manager in 1965. The company prospered under his management.

During the early 1970's the relationship between Robert and Nancy began to deteriorate. They unsuccessfully attempted marriage counseling. Robert permanently moved from the family home in January of 1980.

Nancy filed for divorce in May of 1980. She alleged incompatibility, gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty as grounds for divorce. Mrs. Bohl requested division of property and alimony. Mr. Bohl cross-petitioned on the same grounds as the petition.

The case was tried in June of 1981. The trial court granted a divorce at the time but took the matter of division of property under advisement. No appeal was taken from the decree of divorce. The court made its order dividing the family property December 14, 1981. The court stated the nature and source of the property, age of the parties, fault, length of the marriage, future earning capacities of the parties and family ties operated to cancel each other, "leaving neither party a foothold for advantage." Thus, the court said, the value of the property belonging to the parties should be divided evenly between them with Nancy Bohl to have assets producing income from interest and dividends and Robert Bohl to have the assets of the construction company. With those guidelines, the court then set out the division:

                To Nancy Bohl
                  1st Natl.  Bank checking account                     $     300.00
                  Highland Park St. Bank checking account                 3,500.00
                  Highland Park St. Bank savings account                  7,500.00
                  Highland Park St. Bank cert. of deposit                62,300.00
                  400 shares K.P. & L.                                    6,800.00
                  108 shares Sperry-Rand                                  5,500.00
                  135 shares Bendix                                       8,000.00
                  200 shares Exxon                                       13,000.00
                  200 shares T.R.W.                                       5,400.00
                  485 shares Cessna                                      17,000.00
                  152 shares of Carnation                                 4,700.00
                  6 shares The Continental Corp.                            200.00
                  334 shares Highland Park St. Bank                      41,800.00
                  974 shares 1st Natl.  Bank                              35,064.00
                  100 shares Massey Ferguson Ltd.                           400.00
                  127 shares Pantasota                                      400.00
                  200 shares Sun Chemical                            $    6,200.00
                  300 shares Carter Wallace, Inc.                         3,200.00
                  375 shares American Quaser Petroleum                   12,000.00
                  Bond of City of LaCygne                                 8,600.00
                  Can-Am Resource Fund Partnership interest               3,650.00
                  Residence at 2821 Burlingame, Topeka, Ks.             185,000.00
                  Life insurance cash value                                 500.00
                  1978 Mercedes                                           no value
                  1975 Oldsmobile                                         no value
                  Personal property in residence at 2821 Burlingame       no value
                  Choice of 33 shares SuperCreto or 30 shares
                   Madison Square Garden                                  no value
                                                              TOTAL  $  463,014.00
                [232 Kan. 559] (Total includes property valued at $32,000 omitted by trial judge.)
                To Robert Bohl
                  Horses                                         $     1,000.00
                  Pleasure boats                                       5,250.00
                  Robert Bohl's M. W. Watson, Inc. profit
                   sharing plan                                       64,650.00
                  Residence at 3648 Arrowhead Dr., Topeka, Ks.        60,000.00
                  Account balance at M. W. Watson, Inc.              153,265.00
                  Topeka Country Club membership                       7,500.00
                  101 shares 1st Natl.  Bank                            3,636.00
                  Life insurance cash value                           60,200.00
                  Cash on hand                                        10,100.00
                  Stock of M. W. Watson, Inc.--1866 shares at
                   $1027.58 per share                              1,917,464.00
                  Personal property at 3648 Arrowhead Dr.              no value
                  Other automobiles                                    no value
                  Remainder of SuperCreto or Madison Square
                   Garden stock after Nancy's choice                   no value
                  Deductions from value of Robert Bohl's share
                  loans taken out in substitute of salary check     (37,287.00)
                  Property tax due and unpaid                        (1,730.00)
                                                          TOTAL  $ 2,244,048.00

The court, "in order to equalize the assets distributed between the parties," directed Robert Bohl to pay to Nancy Bohl $890,217.00 in accordance with a timetable agreed upon by counsel. The trial court further set apart to Nancy Bohl the total amount of her inheritance from her father, M.W. Watson, exclusive of the 100 shares of stock in the company which were lumped in with the shares of stock awarded to Robert. Finally, the trial court directed Robert Bohl to pay the "costs, witness fees, and expenses of this action," including Nancy's attorney fees.

In a supplemental memorandum issued January 7, 1982, the court adjusted the value of M.W. Watson, Inc. The court noted there were actually 2011 shares of stock outstanding in the company but that only 1866 of these were a part of the marital estate. Nevertheless, the court felt that for all intents and purposes ownership of the 1866 shares meant total control of the company. As such, Robert Bohl had been awarded the entire company. Accordingly, the trial court increased the value of the stock awarded to Robert Bohl from $1,917,464.00 to $2,066,463.00, the figure arrived at by the court for the total value of M.W. Watson, Inc. This increased the net amount of Robert Bohl's share to $2,393,047.00. It also increased Nancy Bohl's cash award to $964,716.50.

At a hearing the same day the trial court awarded 15.74 acres of unimproved real estate on North Buchanan Street in Topeka to Nancy Bohl. This property was left out of the original division as an oversight. The court intended this property to go to Mrs. Bohl and had included its $32,000 value in her share. The order merely carried out the previous award.

After a hearing on March 4, 1982, the trial court awarded Mrs. Bohl temporary support retroactively in the amount of $3,000 per month from June 1, 1981, to March 16, 1982.

Robert Bohl filed his notice of appeal from the trial court's decision April 15, 1982. In an order filed July 22, 1982, the trial court ordered Mr. Bohl to pay Mrs. Bohl $500.00 per month temporary support from May 1, 1982, pending the outcome of this appeal.

Robert Bohl first complains the trial court abused its discretion in dividing the property by: (1) relying on evidence outside the record; (2) failing to consider the tax consequences of the division; and (3) including minority shares, owned by others not party to this suit, as a part of the marital estate subject to division. We will discuss these issues in order.

There is no disagreement on the rules governing division of property pursuant to divorce. The trial court is under a duty to divide the marital property in a "just and reasonable manner." K.S.A.1981 Supp. 60-1610(d). In determining a just and reasonable division of the property the trial court should consider: (1) the ages of the parties; (2) the duration of the marriage (3) the property owned by the parties; (4) the...

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