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Mason v. Mason

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

December 13, 2017

DEBRA L. MASON APPELLANT
v.
CHARLES F. MASON APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, THIRD DIVISION [NO. 60DR-10-1318] HONORABLE CATHLEEN V. COMPTON, JUDGE

          James Law Firm, by: Bobby R. Digby II, for appellant.

          Hilburn, Calhoon, Harper, Pruniski & Calhoun, Ltd., by: Sam Hilburn and Scott Hilburn, for appellee.

          BART F. VIRDEN, Judge

         Debra Mason appeals from several of the Pulaski County Circuit Court's rulings in her divorce from Charles Mason. Her appeal presents issues relating to alimony and property division. We affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.

         I. Background

         In March 2010, Charles filed a complaint for divorce from Debra, his wife of twenty-nine years. Charles served as the financial provider for the family for most of the marriage. He is an emergency-room physician. Debra has an accounting degree, but she never received her CPA license and now requires additional schooling to participate in the exam.

         A final divorce hearing on Charles's complaint was held in June 2011. By that time, the parties had agreed to an uncontested divorce and the division of most of their personal property. The primary issues remaining to be resolved were Debra's request for permanent alimony, the disposition and division of the marital home, the division of the parties' retirement accounts, and debt allocation.

         In August 2011, the trial court entered a divorce decree. In the decree, Charles was ordered to pay Debra alimony in the amount of $3500 a month for thirty-six months and thereafter $1500 a month for sixty months or upon Debra's remarriage, whichever occurred first. The decree provided that the alimony award was based partially on the assumption that the parties would each receive approximately $150, 000 from the sale of the marital home. Also pertinent to this appeal is a provision of the decree finding that a Scottrade retirement account is Charles's nonmarital property.

         Debra timely appealed, challenging the alimony award and the finding that the Scottrade account was Charles's nonmarital property. In June 2012, our court dismissed that appeal for lack of a final order because the court did not make a final disposition of the marital home. See Mason v. Mason, 2012 Ark.App. 393.

         In October 2012, the trial court entered an order that addressed the disposition of the marital home. The order included a provision stating that

[t]he issues of whether the Plaintiff receives credit for any reduction in the principal of the house and any repairs he has made are reserved. If the home is sold, the parties shall deposit any disputed funds into escrow subject to further orders of this Court. This order is not intended to be a final order as there are issues still outstanding.

         The house eventually sold for $710, 000 in January 2014.

         In February 2014, Debra filed a motion to modify alimony. She argued she was entitled to an increase in alimony because Charles's income had substantially increased since the divorce was granted and that the award of alimony was based, in part, on the incorrect assumption that the parties would each receive approximately $150, 000 from the sale of the marital ...


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