FROM THE JOHNSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 36DR-16-184]
HONORABLE GORDON W. "MACK" MCCAIN, JR., JUDGE
L. Muke, Inc., by: Iris L. Muke, for appellant.
Law Firm, P.A., by: Robert M. Veach, for appellee.
J. GLADWIN, Judge
Eric Carr appeals the divorce decree entered by the Johnson
County Circuit Court in favor of appellee Maranda Carr on her
counterclaim for divorce on the basis of general indignities.
Eric argues that the circuit court erred in unequally
allocating the marital liabilities, in awarding
rehabilitative alimony to Maranda, and in failing to consider
the relevant factors in awarding her permanent alimony. We
parties were married on September 2, 2000, and separated on
August 15, 2016. Eric filed for divorce on
September·1, and on September 7, Maranda filed her
answer and counterclaim. Considering the length of the
parties' marriage, the parties' financial
circumstances, and other factors, Maranda requested both
temporary and permanent spousal support from Eric.
to the hearing on January 24, 2018, counsel for the parties
announced that the parties had reached an agreement on all
issues except alimony, attorney's fees, and court costs.
The parties' property-settlement agreement was read into
the record with no objection, and counsel stipulated that the
property had been equally divided between the parties.
Eric's counsel advised the circuit court that it would
not need to look at the values of the property when making
its decision on alimony because everything was settled. The
parties' agreement was filed on February 6.
the hearing, the circuit court heard testimony from Doris
Davis, a certified public accountant, who testified as an
expert for Maranda. Ms. Davis testified that she was familiar
with the parties' respective earnings during the
marriage, the tax consequences concerning an award of
alimony, the parties' respective spendable incomes, and
Eric's ability to pay alimony. Maranda testified as to
her need for alimony, the standard of living to which she had
become accustomed during the parties' sixteen-year
marriage, and other factors regarding her request for
alimony. Eric testified that since 2011, his income was at
least twice that of Maranda's, and in certain years,
three times more.
circuit court found that the property-settlement agreement
was equal despite Eric's objections at the hearing that
the division of liabilities was unequal. The circuit court
ordered Eric to pay Maranda permanent alimony of $265.35 a
week based on Eric's making $885 a week and Maranda's
making $354.61 a week. The amount was to give both parties an
equal amount of $619.96 each week. Alimony was to be paid
retroactively from the date of separation until Maranda
remarries, lives with someone tantamount to marriage, or
rehabilitative alimony was awarded to Maranda for three
years, to be calculated at the end of the year by taking
Eric's net bonuses and subtracting Maranda's net
bonuses and splitting the difference on a fifty-fifty basis.
After the three-year period, the split of the bonus
difference will constitute permanent alimony, but at a
reduced amount- 23.49 percent-the same percentage as the
difference between weekly incomes of each party. It is to
terminate upon the same conditions as permanent alimony.
divorce decree was filed April 19, and Eric filed a timely
notice of appeal on May 21. On May 31, he also filed a notice
of appeal from the May 2 deemed-denied ruling on his motion
to reconsider the divorce decree that was filed on April
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
appellate courts review divorce cases de novo on the record.
Moore v. Moore, 2019 Ark. 216, at 6, 576 S.W.3d 15,
20. The circuit court's findings pertaining to the
division of property will not be reversed unless they are
clearly erroneous or against the preponderance of the
evidence. Id. A finding is clearly erroneous when
the reviewing court, on the entire evidence, is left with a
definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.
Id. at 7, 576 S.W.3d at 20. We also give due
deference to the circuit court's determination of the
credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given to
their testimony. Id. ...