FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23DR-11-1046]
HONORABLE H.G. FOSTER, JUDGE
& Co., PLLC, by: Tim J. Cullen, for appellant.
A. Newcomb, for appellee.
BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE.
and Lorene Wyatt's divorce generated this appeal. Their
divorce proceedings unfolded over several years and did not
go smoothly. The litigation primarily focused on the division
of their property. On appeal, Terry argues that the circuit
court erred in how it divided the couple's property, its
child-support calculation, and the award of attorney's
fees to Lorene. We affirm the circuit court.
and Terry married in December 1994, and three children were
born of the marriage. Before and during the marriage, Terry
was involved in several businesses-three of them are critical
to this appeal. Terry formed A-1 Recovery, Inc., in
1992-before his marriage to Lorene. Two other
corporations-A-1 Recovery Rental, LLC, and A-1 Recovery
Towing & Recovery, Inc.-were formed during the marriage.
Of great significance to this appeal is the fact that these
various business entities owned most of the property used by
the parties-including real estate and vehicles-and were used
to pay many of the parties' personal expenses. For
example, Terry used corporate funds to pay for household
furnishings, personal property, personal legal fees, and
filed for divorce on 17 August 2011, and Terry later
counterclaimed for divorce. After Lorene filed for divorce,
Terry caused to be filed of record a sales contract allegedly
signed on 28 February 2011, wherein A-1 Recovery Rental, LLC,
sold 56 Wyatt Lane-the house the parties lived in before
their separation-to Billy Joe Studebaker. And on 23 August
2011, Terry sold A-1 Recovery Rental, LLC, to Billy Joe
Studebaker. On 4 September 2012, Terry sold A-1 Recovery
Towing & Recovery, Inc., to Gerald Kennon. In a separate
case before the same circuit court, Lorene attempted to have
the conveyances of 56 Wyatt Lane and A-1 Recovery Rental,
LLC, to Billy Joe Studebaker set aside as fraudulent. The
circuit court refused to set aside those conveyances.
May 2013, the circuit court entered a divorce decree that
adjudicated custody and visitation of Lorene and Terry's
minor child-the other two children, twin boys, were over
eighteen. By consent and agreement of the parties, the
circuit court reserved deciding all issues of property
division "due to the unusual circumstances of the
parties' property division."
January 2016, three years after the circuit court had granted
the parties' divorce, the circuit court entered a lengthy
order and judgment that dealt with property, child support,
spousal support, and attorney's fees. In dividing the
parties' property, the circuit court valued the property
as of their separation date in August 2011 finding it
"impossible to arrive at a reliable value or composition
of the marital estate after that date."
successfully argued at trial that she was entitled to a
portion of the value of A-1 Recovery, Inc-a corporation
formed before the parties' marriage. Applying established
precedent, the circuit court found that Lorene contributed to
the growth of A-1 Recovery, Inc., and awarded her $412, 765,
which represented one-half of the marital value of A-1
Recovery, Inc., and its wholly owned corporations.
Additionally, the circuit court determined that Terry was
operating the corporations as his alter ego and pierced the
corporate veil. On child support, the circuit court imputed
$12, 833.73 in monthly income to Terry when calculating his
obligation. Finally, the circuit court awarded Lorene $31,
950 in attorney's fees. Terry timely appealed the circuit
court's order and judgment.
Terry argues the circuit court erred by (1) failing to divide
the marital property when the divorce was granted; (2)
treating A-1 Recovery, Inc., as marital property; (3) valuing
the marital property as of the parties' separation date;
(4) piercing the corporate veil; (5) imputing income when
calculating his child-support obligation; and (6) awarding
attorney's fees to Lorene.
review divorce cases de novo. Moore v. Moore, 2016
Ark. 105, 486 S.W.3d 766. The circuit court's findings
pertaining to division of property are affirmed unless they
are clearly erroneous or against the preponderance of the
evidence. Id. The division of property itself is
also reviewed and the same standard applies. Id. A
finding is clearly erroneous when the reviewing court on the
entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction
that a mistake has been committed. Skokos v. Skokos,
344 Ark. 240, 40 S.W.3d 768 (2001). Our court gives due
deference to the circuit ...