Brooks v. Brooks

Decision Date15 April 1986
Docket NumberNo. 0728,0728
Citation345 S.E.2d 510,289 S.C. 352
CourtSouth Carolina Court of Appeals
PartiesJoan Tumbleston BROOKS, Appellant, v. William Edward BROOKS, Respondent. . Heard

Thomas O. Berry, Jr., St. George, and Paul E. Tinkler, Charleston, for appellant.

James C. Carroll, Jr. and Walter M. Bailey, Summerville, for respondent.

SHAW, Judge.

This is a domestic relations action. Appellant wife, Joan Tumbleston Brooks, appeals the family court's division of the marital property awarding 35% to her and 65% to respondent husband, William Edward Brooks. We affirm as modified.

This court, in domestic relations actions, may find facts according to its own view of the preponderance of the evidence. Walker v. Frericks, 285 S.C. 139, 328 S.E.2d 126 (Ct.App.1985).

These parties were married in 1960. Both of their children are now emancipated. The wife brought an action for separate maintenance and support in 1983; however, she did not request alimony. Rather, she sought equitable distribution of the marital property and permanent use of the marital home. The husband counterclaimed for a legal separation and sole use and ownership of the marital home. The family court granted the legal separation, awarded the marital home to the husband, and divided the marital property.

The wife claims the family court erred in awarding her 35% of the marital property. She argues she is entitled to 50%. A family court judge has wide discretion in distributing marital property. Beinor v. Beinor, 282 S.C. 181, 318 S.E.2d 269 (1984). The judge may use any reasonable means to reach an equitable result. Bass v. Bass, 285 S.C. 178, 328 S.E.2d 649 (Ct.App.1985).

Our Supreme Court has set forth some of the criteria a family court judge may consider in making an equitable distribution. Shaluly v. Shaluly, 284 S.C. 71, 325 S.E.2d 66 (1985). The court listed the criteria as:

... (1) respective age, background and earning ability of the parties; (2) duration of the marriage; (3) the standard of living of the parties during the marriage; (4) what money or property each brought into the marriage; (5) the present income of the parties; (6) the property acquired during the marriage by either or both parties; (7) the source of acquisition; (8) the current value and income producing capacity of the property; (9) the debts and liabilities of the parties to the marriage; (10) the present mental and physical health of the parties; (11) the probability of continuing present employment at present earnings or better in the future; (12) effect of distribution of assets on the ability to pay alimony and support, and (13) gifts from one spouse to the other during the marriage.

At the time of the hearing the husband was 52 years old; the wife 42. The wife's annual gross income exceeded the husband's. The parties had been married 24 years and enjoyed a comfortable standard of living.

The parties maintained separate bank accounts during the marriage. The family court found the husband purchased a certificate of deposit, a savings account, a house, six acres of land, a camper, a boat, an individual retirement account, a riding lawn mower, a tractor, and some furniture. The court found the wife purchased an individual retirement account, a savings account, a credit union account, some furniture, and other deposits. Both parties acquired this property primarily through earnings. The wife also paid for most of the costs of the children's education. She also gave the children money for cars and vacations.

The wife did not work the first eight (8) years of the marriage. She worked thereafter except from 1974-1976 when the plant at which she worked closed. The wife shows a total indebtedness of $340.00 while the husband has no debts. Both parties made substantial non-monetary contributions during the marriage. The wife performed all the household duties including cooking, cleaning, laundry, and caring for the children. The husband maintained the marital property including fencing the...

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14 cases
  • Johnson v. Johnson
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • March 14, 1988
    ...purposes); Walton v. Walton, supra (separately titled house acquired before marriage used as marital residence); Brooks v. Brooks, 289 S.C. 352, 345 S.E.2d 510 (Ct.App.1986) (portion of inherited property used in support of marriage); Sauls v. Sauls, supra (separately titled marital residen......
  • Myers v. Myers
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • January 20, 2011
    ...account with funds used for marital purposes, the stock money was accounted for and thus traceable); see also Brooks v. Brooks, 289 S.C. 352, 355, 345 S.E.2d 510, 512 (Ct.App.1986) (finding $16,000 inheritance that was partially used for marital purposes did not render the remaining $10,000......
  • Bauer v. US
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • March 21, 1995
  • McDuffie v. McDuffie
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1992
    ...preponderance of the evidence does not indicate Melissa fulfilled her duty to help minimize college expenses. See Brooks v. Brooks, 289 S.C. 352, 345 S.E.2d 510 (Ct.App.1986) (in domestic relations actions, this court has jurisdiction to find facts according to its own view of the preponder......
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