Crawford v. Crawford, Case No. 112,304

CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma
Writing for the CourtOPINION BY DEBORAH B. BARNES, PRESIDING JUDGE
Citation419 P.3d 312
Parties In re the Marriage of: Gaylene R. CRAWFORD, Petitioner/Appellee, v. Donald W. CRAWFORD, Respondent/Appellant.
Docket NumberCase No. 112,304
Decision Date21 June 2017

419 P.3d 312

In re the Marriage of: Gaylene R. CRAWFORD, Petitioner/Appellee,
v.
Donald W. CRAWFORD, Respondent/Appellant.

Case No. 112,304

Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division No. 4.

Decided: June 21, 2017
Mandate Issued: November 28, 2017


Rod W. Wiemer, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, for Petitioner/Appellee

Ron W. Little, DOERNER SAUNDERS DANIEL & ANDERSON, LLP, Tulsa, Oklahoma, for Respondent/Appellant

OPINION BY DEBORAH B. BARNES, PRESIDING JUDGE:

419 P.3d 315

¶ 1 This appeal arises from the divorce proceedings of Donald W. Crawford (Husband) and Gaylene R. Crawford (Wife).1 Husband appeals from the parties' divorce decree, as well as from the trial court's order granting, in part, Wife's request for attorney fees and costs, and from the trial court's order denying Husband's "Motion to Reconsider and Modify" the decree. Based on our review, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

The Divorce Decree

¶ 2 The parties were married in Oklahoma in 1984. They had three children during the marriage. In 2009, Wife filed a petition for divorce.

¶ 3 In the divorce decree, filed in October 2013, the trial court granted the parties a divorce on the ground of incompatibility. Two of the parties' three children had reached the age of majority prior to trial. As to the parties' one minor child, joint legal custody was awarded to the parties, and child support was awarded based on Husband having a gross monthly income of $6,200, and Wife having a gross monthly income of $2,000.2

¶ 4 The trial court also divided the marital property and awarded Wife support alimony. The parties owned a 35–acre tract of property where the marital home, as well as a cell phone tower, are located. The cell phone tower was constructed by a lessee as part of a lease agreement executed in 1999. That lease agreement provides that the lessee is leasing the premises "for the purpose of constructing, operating, maintaining, and repairing a facility to provide commercial mobile radio services[.]"

¶ 5 Husband, who requested that all 35 acres and the lease be awarded to him, testified at trial that the cell phone tower lease had a low value—lower than Wife's proposed value of $19,837.80—because, although the lease was a source of revenue, the lease could be cancelled by the lessee at any time (with prior written notice),3 and he testified: "They're testing low-level satellites to replace cell phone towers, so the plans are underway to obsolete them and technology moves on like it always does." Nevertheless, Husband requested that the lease be awarded to him, and he agreed that the lease paid $3,967.50 per year and that five years remained on the lease.4

¶ 6 As to the value of the real property, Wife asserted the 35 acres (i.e., the marital home and acreage) was worth $250,000. Regarding the marital home, Wife testified it is a "very nice," custom-built, four-bedroom, two-bath home. She also testified there is a barn on the property. Husband, although requesting an award of the property, asserted it had a lower value, plus mortgage debt. He further testified the presence of the cell phone tower made the real property less attractive to potential buyers. He asserted the real property had a market value of $219,000, and an equity value of $129,936.

¶ 7 Ultimately, the trial court awarded Husband "[a]ll right, title and interest in the proceeds from the cellular phone tower

419 P.3d 316

lease" from August 14, 2009—the date Wife filed her petition for divorce—until April 25, 2013, totaling $14,878. "[A]s of April 25, 2013," however, all right, title and interest in the proceeds from the cell phone tower lease were awarded to Wife.

¶ 8 Moreover, Husband was awarded the 35 acres, including the marital residence, but subject to Wife being awarded "[a] 2–acre plat of land from the [35–acre tract] on which the marital residence is located, to include the area covered by the cellular phone tower lease." Husband was also granted the marital residence and acreage "subject to the outstanding mortgage indebtedness thereon[.]" Husband was ordered to pay marital debt totaling $94,912.94. The trial court explained from the bench that it did not adopt Wife's valuation of the property at $250,000, nor did it adopt Husband's $219,000 valuation; instead, it adopted a value between these two values—i.e., about $15,000 to $20,000 less than Wife's valuation.

¶ 9 Husband was also awarded the IRA account with an agreed-upon value of $73,175, as well as the parties' 25% ownership interest in the business for which Husband was working, an interest which he valued at $25,000, but which Wife valued at $36,000. The trial court explained from the bench that it was accepting the value of $36,000.

¶ 10 In turn, Wife was awarded a "money judgment against Husband in the amount of $150,000 representing alimony in lieu of property division[.]" Husband was also ordered to pay Wife $13,941

for Wife's share of the parties' 2008 joint income tax refund in the amount of $8,941 and for reimbursement of the value of Wife's vehicle Husband traded in for a vehicle owned by [the business for which he works] in the amount of $5,000, which the Court finds Husband improperly converted to his own use.

¶ 11 The trial court also divided the personal property items of the parties, such as boats, tools and furniture, the total value of which is not insubstantial. According to Wife, the total value of the parties' marital personal property of this kind equals $136,707. As to items ultimately awarded to Husband, Wife presented evidence that, for example, a certain "M8200 Kubota" tractor had a value of $26,172 (though Husband valued it at $11,708), and that two Harley Davidson motorcycles had values of $18,725 and $8,955 (though Husband valued them at $15,605 and $3,940). Husband was also awarded personal property items such as two trailers, two boats (one a mere "aluminum boat" which she and Husband valued at $300, and the other a "Pro Craft" boat which she and Husband valued at $8,790), a dirt bike, and miscellaneous farm and hand tools (which Wife valued at $13,380) such as an air compressor, saws and a chain saw, ladders, a "Craftsman roll around tool box w/tools," and various rifles.

¶ 12 Wife arrived at her valuations using, among other things, various online valuation guides such as "NADA Guides," according to which the total value of the marital personal property which was both in Husband's possession and awarded to Husband by the trial court equals approximately $125,000. However, the trial court stated at the end of trial that "a lot of [Wife's] valuations were a little bit high." On the other hand, the trial court also stated "that a lot of [Husband's] values on the property that he wants to keep are extremely low." Consequently, the trial court "approximated about a $30,000 discount [to Wife's total valuation] of the personal property." The value of the personal property items of this kind (i.e., vehicles, tools, guns, etc.) awarded to Wife was, in comparison to the items awarded to Husband, minimal.5 The parties were also awarded equal portions (50% each) of a certain mineral interest with an agreed-upon value of less than $12,000.6

¶ 13 The trial court explained from the bench that the total "share of the marital estate [awarded to Husband] is $375,000."

419 P.3d 317

The court explained that this amount constitutes his net award after payment of the marital debt he was ordered to pay. After further deducting the amount of $150,000, which Husband was ordered to pay to Wife as property division alimony, Husband was awarded the equivalent of $225,000. Indeed, Husband admits on appeal that "[t]he marital assets awarded to [me] had a net value of $225,000[.]"

¶ 14 On the other hand, the only significant items awarded to Wife were the cell phone tower lease, valued by Wife at $19,837.80; the two acres, which Wife valued at $4,000; and the 50% share of the mineral interest, valued at $5,978. Using the highest estimates possible based on the evidence presented at trial, Wife was awarded the equivalent of less than $40,000 total in marital property. Even when adopting this sum, and after adding the $150,000 and $13,941 payments to Wife from Husband, Wife was awarded the equivalent of approximately $204,000 of the marital estate's net value.

¶ 15 Husband was further ordered to pay support alimony to Wife in the total amount of $45,000, to be paid to Wife over the course of sixty months at the rate of $750 per month. However, the alimony award is not contested on appeal.

Post–Decree Proceedings

¶ 16 In November 2013, within thirty days of the divorce decree, Husband filed an appeal. Also in November 2013, Wife filed a motion for attorney fees and costs and Husband filed a motion to reconsider/modify the decree.7 Husband's motion was filed within thirty days of, but more than ten days after, the date of filing of the divorce decree.

¶ 17 In Wife's motion, she sought an award of attorney fees and costs under 43 O.S. 2011 § 110(D), which provides that "[u]pon granting a decree of dissolution of marriage ... the court may require either party to pay such reasonable expenses of the other as may be just...

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1 practice notes
  • Chandler v. State ex rel. Dep't of Pub. Safety, Case Number: 115275
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma
    • September 8, 2017
    ...the Supplemental Sworn Report has no stamp or writing indicating when it was received by or was filed with DPS. More importantly, the 419 P.3d 312appellate record includes no proof of service of the Supplemental Sworn Report with a new notice of revocation on Chandler or his attorney at any......
1 cases
  • Chandler v. State ex rel. Dep't of Pub. Safety, Case Number: 115275
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma
    • September 8, 2017
    ...the Supplemental Sworn Report has no stamp or writing indicating when it was received by or was filed with DPS. More importantly, the 419 P.3d 312appellate record includes no proof of service of the Supplemental Sworn Report with a new notice of revocation on Chandler or his attorney at any......

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