Parrott v. Parrott, No. 21712

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtLEWIS
Citation292 S.E.2d 182,278 S.C. 60
PartiesHarry Lee PARROTT, Respondent, v. Shirley Nadine PARROTT, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 21712
Decision Date26 May 1982

Page 182

292 S.E.2d 182
278 S.C. 60
Harry Lee PARROTT, Respondent,
v.
Shirley Nadine PARROTT, Appellant.
No. 21712.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
May 26, 1982.

Richard G. Dusenbury, Florence, for appellant.

E. LeRoy Nettles, Lake City, for respondent.

LEWIS, Chief Justice:

A divorce was granted to the parties upon the statutory ground of one year's separation. This appeal by the wife is upon the sole ground that the lower court erred in denying the wife's claim for an equitable share of the real and personal [278 S.C. 61] property held by the husband at the time of the divorce. We reverse and remand.

The record reveals that over the course of a twenty-two year marriage, the respondent husband was virtually the sole wage-earner in this household. The wife was employed out of the home for approximately one year and for the remainder of the marriage performed the services of a homemaker while also rearing the children of the couple. Aside from an inheritance (the disposition of which is disputed by the parties), the wife's tangible, monetary contributions to the family unit were thus minimal compared to those of the husband.

This appeal presents but a single question: Upon divorce can homemaker services alone support an award to the homemaker spouse of real and personal property owned by the other spouse? We hold that such an award is proper as a matter of equity and

Page 183

that the family court erred in refusing to consider appellant's prayer for such equitable division.

A correct understanding of this holding requires a review of our prior decisions governing property division upon divorce. Real property has traditionally been distributed on the basis of title. Jointly held property we have divided equally. Spence v. Spence, 260 S.C. 526, 197 S.E.2d 683; Taylor v. Taylor, 267 S.C. 530, 229 S.E.2d 852; Mason v. Mason, 272 S.C. 268, 251 S.E.2d 198. Clear title in one or the other spouse has typically been confirmed upon divorce. McKenzie v. McKenzie, 254 S.C. 372, 175 S.E.2d 628; Morris v. Morris, 268 S.C. 104, 232 S.E.2d 326.

The effect of the so-called "title theory" is twofold. It simultaneously precludes any interest or claim in one spouse to property owned by the other spouse while it places this very property outside the marriage, which is to say beyond the reach of the court. Until very recently, for example, this Court treated interspousal gifts in such a manner. Where a duty of support ran from one spouse to another, we regarded a conveyance from supporting to dependent spouse as a gift and confirmed ownership in the recipient. Caulk v. Caulk, 211 S.C. 57, 43 S.E.2d 600; Clanton v. Clanton, 229 S.C. 356, 92 S.E.2d 878; Stevens v. Stevens, 244 S.C. 113, 135 S.E.2d 725; Kirby v. Kirby, 270 S.C. 137, 241 S.E.2d 415. In Burgess v. Burgess, S.C., 286 S.E.2d 142, however, we restored interspousal[278 S.C. 62] gifts to the category of marital property accessible for distribution upon divorce.

This Court has...

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27 practice notes
  • LaRue v. LaRue, No. 15578
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • May 25, 1983
    ...who had worked during a portion of her marriage and had contributed her earnings to the support of the family. In Parrott v. Parrott, 292 S.E.2d 182 (S.C.1982), a homemaker wife was involved and the court enlarged its definition of special equity by "Also, where a spouse has made 'mate......
  • Ferguson v. Ferguson, No. 92-CA-00058
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • July 7, 1994
    ...marriage to acquisition of property, a special equity or equitable interest favoring that party can be found." Parrott v. Parrott, 278 S.C. 60, 292 S.E.2d 182 (1982). Florida preceded South Carolina with this action. Canakaris v. Canakaris, 382 So.2d 1197 (Fla.1980). West Virginia adop......
  • O'Neill v. O'Neill, No. 4932
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • March 10, 1988
    ...v. DiFlorido, 459 Pa. 641, 331 A.2d 174 (1975); Paul W. v. Margaret W., 8 Fam.L.Rep. 3013 (Pa.Ct.Common Pleas, 1981); Parrott v. Parrott, 278 S.C. 60, 292 S.E.2d 182 A property division ought to accord value to those nonmonetary contributions of one spouse which enable the other spouse to d......
  • Di Iorio v. Di Iorio
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • October 25, 1991
    ...the status of a claim for a lien based upon equitable distribution. The court reflected upon the case of Parrott v. Parrott,[603 A.2d 134] 278 S.C. 60, 292 S.E.2d 182 (1982), wherein the South Carolina court had recognized, for the first time, the interest of a homemaker spouse in the prope......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • LaRue v. LaRue, No. 15578
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • May 25, 1983
    ...who had worked during a portion of her marriage and had contributed her earnings to the support of the family. In Parrott v. Parrott, 292 S.E.2d 182 (S.C.1982), a homemaker wife was involved and the court enlarged its definition of special equity by "Also, where a spouse has made 'material ......
  • Ferguson v. Ferguson, No. 92-CA-00058
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • July 7, 1994
    ...during marriage to acquisition of property, a special equity or equitable interest favoring that party can be found." Parrott v. Parrott, 278 S.C. 60, 292 S.E.2d 182 (1982). Florida preceded South Carolina with this action. Canakaris v. Canakaris, 382 So.2d 1197 (Fla.1980). West Virginia ad......
  • O'Neill v. O'Neill, No. 4932
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • March 10, 1988
    ...v. DiFlorido, 459 Pa. 641, 331 A.2d 174 (1975); Paul W. v. Margaret W., 8 Fam.L.Rep. 3013 (Pa.Ct.Common Pleas, 1981); Parrott v. Parrott, 278 S.C. 60, 292 S.E.2d 182 A property division ought to accord value to those nonmonetary contributions of one spouse which enable the other spouse to d......
  • Di Iorio v. Di Iorio
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • October 25, 1991
    ...the status of a claim for a lien based upon equitable distribution. The court reflected upon the case of Parrott v. Parrott,[603 A.2d 134] 278 S.C. 60, 292 S.E.2d 182 (1982), wherein the South Carolina court had recognized, for the first time, the interest of a homemaker spouse in the prope......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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