Reich v. Reich

Decision Date27 April 1984
Docket NumberNo. 55426,55426
Citation680 P.2d 545,235 Kan. 339
PartiesMary Jane REICH, Appellee, v. Dale REICH, Appellant.
CourtKansas Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

In an appeal from the order of a trial court dividing the marital property following the granting of a divorce, the record is examined and it is held: The trial court did not abuse its discretion in its division of the marital property; the record does not support appellant's claim that the trial court ignored the tax consequences of its order; and the testimony of the appellee that she was willing to pay the appellant $700,000 for his interest in the ranch was not inadmissible under K.S.A. 60-452 as an offer to compromise.

Thomas C. Boone, Hays, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

Michael S. Holland, Russell, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellee.

MILLER, Justice:

This is an appeal from an order dividing the property of the parties following the granting of a divorce. This action was commenced in the District Court of Russell County by the plaintiff, Mary Jane Reich, against the defendant, Dale Reich, seeking a divorce, division of property, alimony, attorney fees, and costs. A divorce was granted on November 23, 1982, on the grounds of mutual incompatibility, and no appeal was taken from that order. Both parties have since remarried.

After a full trial, the trial court divided the property between the parties, denied alimony or attorney fees, and taxed the costs to the plaintiff wife. The journal entry was filed on February 17, 1983, and it is from that order that the husband appeals. Three issues are raised: Whether the court abused its discretion in dividing the property; whether the court abused its discretion by failing to consider the tax consequences of its property division; and whether the wife's proposed findings concerning alimony and division of property were erroneously admitted evidence of compromise.

The first issue requires us to review the facts. Plaintiff and defendant married on June 6, 1954. The couple started with little or nothing, but acquired substantial assets over the years. Much of the wealth consists of family ranch operations which the husband's father started during the 1930's and then gradually transferred to his son. Defendant paid for some of the land, but the bulk came to him by gift. Additionally, some other land has been purchased. The husband has been primarily a rancher and cattleman; the wife has not been employed outside the home. She has an artificial hip and a ruptured disc, anticipates additional surgery, and is unable to work.

The trial court awarded the entire ranch, including the almost-new home thereon, all of the stock, cattle, machinery and equipment, and a small Colorado property, to the husband. The court divided the mineral interests equally between the parties, with the provision that the wife's portion be for life only and that upon her death her interest would revert to the surface owner of the land. The trial court awarded the wife a judgment in the amount of $500,000, payable $200,000 in cash, and the balance of $300,000 payable in twelve equal annual installments of $25,000 each, the first installment to have been paid February 1, 1984, with interest at eight percent per annum on the unpaid balance to have commenced accruing on that date. The judgment is made a lien upon the ranch. The trial court also awarded the wife a residence in Colorado. The trial court denied the wife's request for alimony and attorney fees, and taxed the costs to her.

The property or interests passing to the parties under the court's decree may be summarized as follows:

                TO THE WIFE
                      Money judgment                $500,000.00
                      Life estate in minerals         85,000.00
                      Pitkin, Colorado, property      60,300.00
                                                    -----------
                       Total value ................ $645,300.00
                (The parties are in agreement as to the foregoing values.)
                TO THE HUSBAND:                     WIFE'S VALUATION  HUSBAND'S VALUATION
                       Cattle                         $ 192,170.00       $ 125,750.00
                       Minerals                          85,000.00          85,000.00
                       Pasture land                     463,230.00         409,394.00
                       Crop land                        276,877.00         276,877.00
                       Farmstead & Improvements         132,750.00         109,101.00
                       Equipment                        203,241.00         182,100.00
                       Tin Cup, Colo., property          10,000.00          10,000.00
                                                    ----------------  -------------------
                         Gross value                 $1,363,268.00      $1,198,222.00
                         Less current indebtedness       50,000.00          50,000.00
                                                    ----------------  -------------------
                         Net Value                   $1,313,268.00      $1,148,222.00
                

Disregarding the minerals, which the parties will share, the husband received all of the income-producing property--the ranch, machinery, equipment, cattle and feed. Total net value of that property is, by either party's computation, well over a million dollars. Plaintiff's judgment is approximately half of that amount. We have not included in our computation the interest which may accrue in future years on plaintiff's judgment, or the income which may be earned or accrue to the husband in future years.

The statute which guides the courts in the division of property in divorce actions is K.S.A. 60-1610(b). That statute reads:

"(b) Financial matters. (1) Division of property. The decree shall divide the real and personal property of the parties, whether owned by either spouse prior to marriage, acquired by either spouse in the spouse's own right after marriage or acquired by the spouses' joint efforts, by: (A) a division of the property in kind; (B) awarding the property or part of the property to one of the spouses and requiring the other to pay a just and proper sum; or (C) ordering a sale of the property, under conditions prescribed by the court, and dividing the proceeds of the sale. In making the division of property the court shall consider the age of the parties; the duration of the marriage; the property owned by the parties; their present and future earning capacities; the time, source and manner of acquisition of property; family ties and obligations; the allowance of maintenance or lack thereof; dissipation of assets; and such other factors as the court considers necessary to make a just and reasonable division of property."

The earlier forms of this statute have been held to vest the trial court with broad discretion. In Bohl v. Bohl, 232 Kan. 557, 561, 657 P.2d 1106 (1983), we said:

"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 present and future earning capacities 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 the lack thereof. Powell v. Powell, 231 Kan. 456, 459, 648 P.2d 218 (1982); Parish v. Parish, 220 Kan. 131, 133-34, 551 P.2d 792 (1976).

" 'In a divorce action the district court is vested with broad discretion in adjusting property rights, and its exercise of that discretion will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear showing of abuse.' Powell, 231 Kan. at 459 . See also Downing v. Downing, 218 Kan. 549, 542 P.2d 709 (1976). '[D]iscretion is abused only where no reasonable [person] would take the view adopted by the trial court. If reasonable [persons] could differ as to the propriety of the action taken by the trial court then it cannot be said that the trial court abused its discretion.' Powell, 231 Kan. at 459 . Stayton v. Stayton, 211 Kan. 560, 562, 506 P.2d 1172 (1973)."

The statute today remains substantially as it has been for many years, the only notable exception being the deletion of "fault" from the items which the trial court must consider, and appellant does not contend that that item was considered here.

Appellant contends that he will be required to sell the ranch, or at least liquidate a major portion of his assets, in order to satisfy the judgment which the trial court awarded to the plaintiff. Appellant cites a number of cases from other jurisdictions which espouse the desirability of keeping the family farm together as a matter of public policy. He also cites the following language from Bohl v. Bohl:

"However, we recognize and acknowledge it would be unfair to require Mr. Bohl to liquidate his company and turn the proceeds over to Mrs. Bohl with nothing left for him. If this were the case it would defeat the trial court's goal of dividing the marital property equally." 232 Kan. at 565, 657 P.2d 1106.

We do not disagree with the statements quoted above, but feel that they are not applicable here. First, Mr. Reich testified that he wanted to keep the ranch together and wished to take his son in as a partner and pass the ranch along to him. The trial judge awarded the entire property to Mr. Reich, thus indicating his intention that the property should be kept together and in the family. The judge also heard argument that the proposed judgment would cause the defendant to liquidate the ranch, but he was not required to accept such contentions. In any event, the evidence does not show that Mr. Reich is left with nothing, nor does it show that the trial court's goal of dividing the property equally has been defeated.

Mrs. Reich presented testimony that a local bank had extended to her a letter of credit for the sum of $750,000 and that...

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13 cases
  • State v. Ransom, 58369
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • 18 July 1986
    ...Heard, 223 Kan. 337, 341, 574 P.2d 1368 (1978); see State v. Alderdice, 221 Kan. 684, 687, 561 P.2d 845 (1977). In Reich v. Reich, 235 Kan. 339, 343, 680 P.2d 545 (1984), quoting Stayton v. Stayton, 211 Kan. 560, 562, 506 P.2d 1172 (1973), the court " 'Judicial discretion is abused when jud......
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    ...of the action taken by the trial court then it cannot be said that the trial court abused its discretion." ' " Reich v. Reich, 235 Kan. 339, 341, 680 P.2d 545 (1984) (quoting Bohl v. Bohl, 232 Kan. 557, 561, 657 P.2d 1106 In Stayton v. Stayton, 211 Kan. 560, 561-62, 506 P.2d 1172 (1973), we......
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