FROM THE UNION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 70DR-17-322]
HONORABLE DAVID F. GUTHRIE, JUDGE.
Richard E. Worsham, for appellant.
D. Bramblett, for appellee.
Kenneth S. Hixson, Judge.
Benjamin Wilson Pratt appeals from a June 19, 2018 divorce
decree filed by the Union County Circuit Court in favor of
appellee Tamra Renee Pratt (now Corley). On appeal, Benjamin
contends that the circuit court erred in its unequal division
of the parties' marital property. We affirm.
parties were married on April 27, 2013, and separated on July
4, 2017. No children were born of the marriage, but
Tamra's son by a prior marriage resided with the parties.
Tamra is a beneficiary of a family trust that produced
significant income. Benjamin was employed at a chemical plant
and received some Social Security disability benefits during
the marriage due to diabetes and kidney complications. Tamra
filed a complaint for divorce on July 7, 2017, on the grounds
of personal indignities and requested the circuit court to
make a distribution of the real and personal property
acquired during the marriage. A trial was held on March 9,
testified that she has a 10 percent interest in the Corley
Trust, which distributes oil and gas royalty dividends as
part of her family's oil-production company. She receives
the dividends quarterly, and the amount varies based on the
price of oil by the barrel. Tamra testified that Benjamin was
employed at Great Lakes Chemical plant during their marriage.
According to their 2013 through 2016 tax returns, Benjamin
cumulatively earned $198, 528 in gross income, including his
wages and Social Security disability benefits. Comparatively,
Tamra cumulatively earned $802, 182 in gross income.
further testified that she owned a premarital residence that
the parties lived in before she sold it for $250, 000. The
parties purchased their marital residence on Pleasant Oak
Drive in Smackover, Arkansas, for $250, 000 in addition to
the adjacent lot for $30, 000 that was titled in both of
their names. They made some improvements to the residence,
including the construction of a shop building, a fence, and a
swimming pool. It was undisputed that the costs of those
improvements totaled $81, 206.10. Tamra testified that the
improvements were funded by her dividend income from the
additionally testified that Benjamin's father owned a
home on East 10th Street in Smackover, Arkansas.
Benjamin's father had a reverse mortgage on the
residence. During the marriage, Tamra used her dividend
income to pay off the reverse mortgage on January 14, 2016,
in the amount of $41, 167.52, and the property was deeded
back to Benjamin's father. Thereafter, on February 15,
2017, Benjamin's father conveyed the property to Benjamin
by warranty deed in Benjamin's name only. Tamra further
used a total of $11, 950.91 of her dividend income to improve
the East 10th Street residence.
testified that she paid Benjamin's premarital debts
totaling $6, 112.18 and that she paid a total of $3, 883.31
for credit-card charges that Benjamin made after the
parties' separation. The parties further had $52, 758.26
and $170, 475.34 in their joint checking and savings
accounts, respectively. Tamra explained that Benjamin never
contributed any money to the savings account, but his payroll
checks were deposited into the checking account. Tamra stated
that she purchased Benjamin's new Ford F150 truck the
summer after they were married. Therefore, she requested that
the circuit court make an unequal division of the real and
personal property that she purchased from her dividend
income. She also requested that her name be restored to her
former surname of Corley.
did not dispute any of the specific amounts mentioned by
Tamra. Benjamin further admitted that he did not have the
funds to make all the purchases without Tamra's savings
of the dividend income. Benjamin testified that he generally
contested the grounds for divorce. However, he testified that
if a divorce was granted, he requested that he be awarded
one-half of the marital property.
divorce decree filed on June 19, 2018, the circuit court
specifically made the following findings:
4. The property issue is subdivided into four areas: real
property, real property improvements, bank accounts, and
personal property. Plaintiff is a beneficiary of a family
trust which produced significant but variable annual income.
Defendant was employed at a chemical plant and then drew
social security disability benefits. The difference in their
income is substantial and is a factor in the division of
property. The factors in A.C.A. § ...