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Sherman v. Boeckmann

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

November 30, 2016

JEANNIE SHERMAN APPELLANT
v.
RAYMOND BOECKMANN APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE CROSS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 19-DR-12-81-4] HONORABLE KATHLEEN BELL, JUDGE

         AFFIRMED

          The Law Offices of Ford, Troutt & Cook, by: Paul N. Ford, for appellant.

          John D. Bridgforth, P.A., by: John D. Bridgforth, for appellee.

          BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge

         This case is a companion case to Sherman v. Boeckmann, 2016 Ark.App. 568, also handed down today. These two appeals arise out of very contentious and protracted divorce litigation between appellant Jeannie Sherman and appellee Raymond Boeckmann. In this appeal, Sherman argues that the circuit court erred in the division of the parties' marital property. We affirm.

         The crux of the dispute is the ownership of four family business corporations the parties agreed are marital property: B and L Properties, Inc. (B&L); L and K Properties, Inc. (L&K); Boeckmann and Sons, Inc. (Sons Inc.); and Logan Centers, Inc. (Logan or Logan Center). It is the valuation and disposition of Logan that is at the heart of this appeal. Prior to the litigation, Boeckmann owned 100 percent of the stock in Sons Inc; Sherman owned 100 percent of the stock in Logan Center; and each party owned 50 percent of the stock in L&K and B&L.

         Sherman filed her complaint for divorce on 10 April 2012. Boeckmann answered and counterclaimed. In his counterclaim, Boeckmann sought a mutual restraining order because, according to Boeckmann, Sherman began removing his name from various bank accounts, both personal and corporate, almost immediately after she filed her complaint for divorce. The court entered an ex parte mutual restraining order, prohibiting the parties from disposing of any of the property belonging to the parties except in the ordinary course of business or by prior written agreement. Further, Sherman was ordered to have Boeckmann's name restored to the various accounts and to return the monies removed from those accounts since 1 March 2012 and not used in the ordinary course of business. Later, the parties were given authority to access the other party's personal accounts and the Logan and the Sons Inc. accounts for the purpose of monitoring the balances and the use of the funds. They could not write checks or otherwise withdraw funds from those accounts.

         A three-day trial was held in late June 2013. The contested issues were the valuation and division of the marital property. Later, the circuit court issued a letter opinion stating that it could not use the testimony provided at trial to value the four corporations. The court asked the parties for the names of three experts to conduct another valuation.

         Without having another valuation of the corporations performed, the court issued another letter opinion ordering the marital property, real and personal, sold with the proceeds divided equally between the parties. This included the parties' various personal and corporate bank accounts. Boeckmann was given offsets for money Sherman had taken from Logan Center accounts that was not in the ordinary course of business.

         After noting that it had three options concerning the division of the stock in the businesses, the court ordered the stock in all four businesses sold and the proceeds equally divided. The court concluded that it could not award each party one-half of the stock because "[t]he disdain, the hostility these parties have for each other would create an intolerable situation by having them to business [sic] with each other." The court further concluded that it could not award all of the stock to one party, with the other party to receive an offsetting amount from other marital assets, because of the lack of a proper valuation of the Logan Center.

         Following the issuance of the court's letter opinion, but prior to entry of the decree, Sherman moved the court to reconsider the stock division. She argued that there was no statutory authority for the court to order a sale of the stock. She also conceded that the parties could not work together, precluding an equal division of the stock. Sherman therefore requested that the court award her all of the stock, with Boeckmann to receive a corresponding amount from the other marital assets. In response, Boeckmann argued that, if the court believed that it could not properly order the stock in the four corporations sold, the court should award each party 50 percent of the stock in each corporation.

         The decree of divorce awarded each party one-half of the stock in each of the four corporations. Otherwise, the property was divided as set out in the court's letter opinion. The court later amended the decree to include the exhibits listing the parties' various accounts and the balances on the first day of trial. Boeckmann was also awarded approximately $365, 000 from the Logan Center accounts and approximately $110, 000 from other joint accounts in order to equalize monies Sherman removed for her personal use without prior approval.

         We dismissed Sherman's appeal of the divorce decree for lack of a final order. Sherman v. Boeckmann, 2015 Ark.App. 566 (Sherman I). We also ordered rebriefing in the companion case. Sherman v. Boeckmann, 2015 Ark.App. 567 (Sherman II). Sherman filed a petition for review of our decision in Sherman I. Relying on its earlier decision in Kelly v. Kelly, 2016 Ark. 72, 483 S.W.3d 296, the supreme court granted Sherman's petition for review, vacated our opinion in Sherman I, ...


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