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Carr v. Carr

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

November 6, 2019

Eric Ray CARR, Appellant
Maranda Lynn CARR, Appellee


          Iris L. Muke, Inc., by: Iris L. Muke, for appellant.

         Veach Law Firm, P.A., by: Robert M. Veach, Russellville, for appellee.


         ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Judge

          Appellant 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 affirm.

          I. Facts

          The 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.

          Prior 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.

          During 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.

          The 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 dies.

          Temporary 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.

         The divorce decree was filed April 19, and Eric filed a timely notice of appeal on May 21.[1] 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 1.[2]

          II. Standard of Review and Applicable Law

          Arkansas 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. This ...

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