Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Moore v. Moore

Supreme Court of Arkansas

June 13, 2019

JOHN DAVID MOORE APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE
v.
NANCY MOORE (NOW LEE) APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT

          APPEAL FROM THE LOGAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 42BDR-12-71] HONORABLE DAVID H. MCCORMICK, JUDGE.

          COURTNEY HUDSON GOODSON, Associate Justice

         This is the second time this divorce case has come before us. In Moore v. Moore, 2016 Ark. 105, 486 S.W.3d 766 (Moore I), we reversed the Logan County Circuit Court's division of certain property and award of alimony and remanded. Appellant John David Moore ("David") appeals from the circuit court's order on remand and argues that the circuit court erred in (1) dividing the marital property unequally, (2) valuing and dividing the marital livestock, and (3) holding him in contempt. Appellee Nancy Moore (now Lee) ("Nancy") cross-appeals from the circuit court's calculation of the amount that she was ordered to reimburse David for his payments on a parcel of real property referred to by the parties as "Granny's Place." We affirm on direct appeal and reverse and remand on cross-appeal.

         The parties were married on April 27, 2007, and separated on June 16, 2012. On June 18, 2012, Nancy filed a complaint for divorce, and David responded and counterclaimed for divorce. The parties litigated property division and alimony issues, and the circuit court entered a divorce decree on February 5, 2014. In the decree, the court awarded Nancy $278, 178.02 for one-half of the growth of David's nonmarital business, Moore U.S. Mail Contractor, Inc., finding that the substantial increase in value was a marital asset based on the contributions and efforts of both parties. The court awarded the remaining marital property equally, including the marital livestock consisting of 10 bulls (3 of which had already been sold by David), 24 horses, 10 cows, and 7 calves. The parties were ordered to sell the livestock by agreement within sixty days, or if they were unable to agree on the manner in which to dispose of the animals, they were to be sold by the clerk of the court. The circuit court also awarded Nancy $5, 000 per month in alimony until she is sixty-five years old.

         David appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred by awarding Nancy one-half of the growth of his business during the marriage and $5, 000 per month in alimony. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of a final order, Moore v. Moore, 2015 Ark.App. 115, and we granted the parties' petition for review. On review, we held that the divorce decree was final and appealable and that the circuit court erred in finding that the growth in David's business was a marital asset. Moore I, supra. We reversed and remanded, stating that the circuit court must award David the growth of his business as his nonmarital property unless the court makes "a specific statutory finding to justify any distribution to Nancy." Id. at 10, 486 S.W.3d at 773. This court also remanded the alimony issue for the circuit court to reconsider "when it redistributes the parties' property." Id. at 11, 486 S.W.3d at 774.

         At an October 2016 status conference held on remand, the circuit court ordered the parties to list for private sale-within ninety days-certain real and personal property that was deemed marital under the terms of the divorce decree. The court further provided that if the property did not sell within ninety days, it would appoint the circuit court clerk to conduct the sale. An order to this effect was entered on February 7, 2017. Prior to the entry of this order, David sold eight calves at a livestock auction and claimed that seven of the calves were marital property. The proceeds from this sale-$2, 382.74- were tendered into the registry of the court.

         On March 8, 2017, the circuit court ordered the circuit clerk to conduct a private sale of the parties' remaining personal property, including the livestock, at David's farm on April 21, 2017. The real property was ordered to be sold at the courthouse that same day, and all proceeds from the sale were to be deposited into the registry of the court.

         The circuit court entered an order in April 2017 reducing the judgment against David in the divorce decree by $278, 178.03 pursuant to this court's ruling in Moore I that the increase in the value of David's business was nonmarital. Nancy then filed a motion and an amended motion for an unequal division of marital assets, arguing that because this court's decision significantly reduced her award, the circuit court should not divide the remaining marital property equally. Instead, she claimed that it should make some other division that is equitable considering the parties' health and station in life, occupation, amount of income, vocational skills, and employability. She also requested an increase in her alimony payments, either in addition to or as an alternative to her request to divide the marital property unequally.

         Nancy also moved the circuit court to hold David in contempt because of the manner in which he had handled the marital livestock. She claimed that he sold 7 calves on January 12, 2017, without her agreement and below market value, and that the 4 bulls, 21 horses, and 7 cows sold at the court-ordered auction on April 21, 2017 were not the animals acquired during the marriage and were of lesser or inferior value than the marital animals. She asserted that David should be obligated to pay damages for the difference in the market value of the marital animals and the animals that he sold, plus $10, 000 for contempt of court and attorney's fees and costs. In addition, she alleged that the marital livestock in David's possession had produced offspring since the entry of the divorce decree and that she was entitled to an equitable amount of the value of these offspring.

         David filed a petition for reimbursement of various expenses associated with the maintenance and sale of the marital property. These expenses included the costs of feeding and caring for the livestock, the costs incurred in hiring workers to prepare the animals for sale, real estate taxes on the two parcels of real property ordered sold, and payments toward the principal indebtedness on Granny's Place.

         A hearing on these matters was held on September 7, 2017, and the circuit court instructed the parties to file posthearing briefs on the remaining, undecided issues. In her brief, Nancy asserted that out of the $336, 105.34 remaining in the registry of the court after the sale of the parties' property, she was entitled to $30, 281.95 for the marital-livestock offspring, $43, 833.32 for the value of the true marital animals that should have been sold, an unequal division of marital assets, an increase in alimony, a monetary award for David's contempt, and attorney's fees and costs. She denied that David should be reimbursed for the costs associated with the maintenance and sale of the marital property due to his contemptuous handling of this property. David requested in his brief that he be reimbursed $31, 866.08 in expenses before the proceeds were divided between the parties and an additional $19, 097.63 from Nancy's share of the marital property. He denied that he should be held in contempt or that Nancy was entitled to the amounts she requested for her portion of the marital livestock.

         On January 17, 2018, the circuit court entered an order finding that, after considering our decision in Moore I and the pleadings, testimony, and exhibits introduced on remand, Nancy was entitled to an unequal distribution of marital property and should receive $250, 000 in addition to her one-half share of the marital assets; David should be held in contempt for his handling of the marital livestock and his failure to present for sale those animals previously determined to be marital livestock; Nancy was entitled to $43, 833.32 for her portion of the marital livestock and $30, 281.95 for her share of the offspring of the marital livestock; David was entitled to the $2, 382.74 he placed into the registry of the court for the January 2017 sale of eight calves, which were not marital livestock; Nancy's award of $5, 000 per month in alimony would remain the same; David's requests for reimbursement were denied, with the exception of the real-estate taxes on Granny's Place, the loan payments of $30, 466.08 on Granny's Place, and the appeal costs in Moore I; and Nancy was awarded $3, 000 in attorney's fees and costs due to David's contempt and the equities in the case. The court distributed the $336, 105.34 in marital funds remaining in the registry of the court and issued Nancy a judgment against David in the amount of $77, 977.34, plus interest.

         On January 26, 2018, David filed a motion for reconsideration or modification of the circuit court's order, which was deemed denied after thirty days. He filed a timely notice of appeal on March 1, 2018, from both the January 17, 2018 order and the denial of his posttrial motion. Nancy also filed a timely notice of cross-appeal.

         I. Whether the Circuit Court Erred by Dividing the Marital Property Unequally

         In his first point on appeal, David argues that the circuit court erred by dividing the marital property unequally. He contends that the circuit court exceeded this court's mandate in Moore I by doing so. Furthermore, he asserts that an unequal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.