Stenberg v. Stenberg

Decision Date25 March 1976
Docket NumberNo. 11651,11651
Citation240 N.W.2d 100,90 S.D. 229
PartiesM. Bennett STENBERG, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Darlene L. STENBERG, Defendant and Respondent.
CourtSouth Dakota Supreme Court

Laird Rasmussen, Dana, Golden, Moore & Rasmussen, Sioux Falls, for plaintiff and appellant.

John E. Burke and Derald W. Wiehl, May, Johnson & Burke, Sioux Falls, for defendant and respondent.

DUNN, Chief Justice.

Plaintiff husband contends that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding alimony to the wife in the amount of $1,000 per month, together with the division of property as set out in the judgment and decree. We affirm.

M. Bennett Stenberg is the plaintiff-appellant and Darlene Stenberg is the defendant-respondent. The parties were married on December 10, 1950. Neither party had much in the way of property at the time of the marriage nor had either party received any substantial gifts or inheritances during the marriage. For approximately nine years after the marriage the parties engaged in farming on various rented farms in southeast South Dakota. They then moved to Sioux Falls where plaintiff began working for a livestock commission firm. In 1964, plaintiff became part owner of a commission firm in Sioux Falls. The family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1969 when plaintiff became the manager of a stockyards. Plaintiff bought Adams-Dougherty, a livestock commission firm, in 1972 and the family moved back to Sioux Falls. Plaintiff subsequently sold one-fourth of the firm and at the time of trial owned three-fourths of Adams-Dougherty.

The parties have four children. The eldest child is married and the second child attends college. The two minor children live at home with the defendant.

On October 28, 1973, plaintiff informed defendant that he wanted a divorce. He moved out of the family home on December 12, 1973. On April 1, 1974, plaintiff moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and at the time of trial was working there as the general manager of a stockyards at a salary of $25,000 per year.

Plaintiff served his summons and complaint on December 14, 1973, and on February 26, 1974, defendant served an amended answer and a counterclaim for divorce. The case was tried on July 31, and August 2, 1974. In its decision of November 12, 1974, the court granted defendant a divorce on her counterclaim on grounds of mental cruelty. She received custody of the two minor children, alimony of $1,000 per month and child support of $100 per month for each of the two minor children. She also was awarded attorney fees in the amount of $1,800. The court divided the real and personal property of the parties and gave defendant the family home subject to an existing mortgage, the household goods and furnishings, an automobile, a two-fifths interest in some farm property in Miner County, and a two-fifths interest in some Moody County farm property. Plaintiff was awarded the remaining three-fifths interest in the farm property, a recreational boat and the three-fourths interest in Adams-Dougherty.

Counsel for defendant submitted findings of fact and conclusions of law which were adopted by the trial court. Counsel for plaintiff submitted findings and conclusions which were refused. Plaintiff also submitted objections to defendant's findings and conclusions. On December 4, 1974, the court entered its judgment and decree of divorce, and on December 9, 1974, it entered an amended judgment and decree.

Plaintiff concedes that the court has the power to award alimony to defendant and divide the property of the parties pursuant to SDCL 25--4--41 and 25--4--44, respectively. However, plaintiff contends that the court abused its discretion in awarding defendant alimony of $1,000 per month in addition to the division of the property.

It is well settled that this court will not modify or set aside an award of alimony or a division of property unless it clearly appears that the trial court abused its discretion. Tyler v. Tyler, 1975, S.D., 233 N.W.2d 804; Pochop v. Pochop, 1975, S.D., 233 N.W.2d 806; Kressly v. Kressly, 1958, 77 S.D. 143, 87 N.W.2d 601. Plaintiff contends that the trial court abused its discretion in the instant case. In his brief he assigns values to the various assets which were divided between the parties. By his valuations, the defendant was awarded alimony plus slightly more than 50% Of the parties' real and personal property.

From both the briefs and the oral argument, it is obvious that the real issue in t...

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17 cases
  • DeVries v. DeVries, s. 18392
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • 23 Marzo 1994
    ...633 (S.D.1982); Wallahan v. Wallahan, 284 N.W.2d 21, 26 (S.D.1979); Lien v. Lien, 278 N.W.2d 436, 442 (S.D.1979); Stenberg v. Stenberg, 90 S.D. 229, 240 N.W.2d 100, 102 (1976). 1 The $64,600.00 property settlement was to be paid over a twelve year period with interest at a rate equal to the......
  • Herndon v. Herndon
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • 20 Marzo 1981
    ...the decision of the trial court on questions of alimony and child support unless there is an abuse of discretion. Stenberg v. Stenberg, 90 S.D. 229, 240 N.W.2d 100 (S.D.1976); Guindon v. Guindon, The term "abuse of discretion" refers to "a discretion exercised to an end or purpose not justi......
  • Watt v. Watt, 13209
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • 18 Noviembre 1981
    ...Nevertheless, the trial court is not precluded from considering the income-producing capacity of the property. Stenberg v. Stenberg, 90 S.D. 229, 240 N.W.2d 100 (1976). Moreover, appellant does not address the several other factors the trial court must consider in making an equitable distri......
  • Taylor v. Taylor
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • 15 Mayo 2019
    ...the assets involved in the property settlement.’ " Guindon v. Guindon , 256 N.W.2d 894, 897 (S.D. 1977) (quoting Stenberg v. Stenberg , 90 S.D. 229, 240 N.W.2d 100, 102 (1976) ). "Any ‘doubts about whether the evidence supports the circuit court’s findings of fact are to be resolved in favo......
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