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McCarthy v. McCarthy

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 18, 2014

Carleen E. McCarthy, Plaintiff, Appellant, and Cross-Appellee
v.
Paul Justin McCarthy, Defendant, Appellee, and Cross-Appellant

Page 763

Appeal from the District Court of Ramsey County, Northeast Judicial District, the Honorable Donovan John Foughty, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Michael L. Gjesdahl, Insight Professional Offices, Fargo, N.D., for plaintiff, appellant, and cross-appellee.

Patti J. Jensen, East Grand Forks, Minnesota, for defendant, appellee, and cross-appellant.

Dale V. Sandstrom, Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner. Opinion of the Court by Sandstrom, Justice. Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J., concurred in the result.

OPINION

Page 764

Sandstrom, Justice.

[¶1] Carleen and Paul McCarthy appeal from a divorce judgment distributing the parties' marital property and awarding permanent spousal support. Carleen McCarthy argues the district court's property distribution to Paul McCarthy was clearly erroneous. Specifically, she argues it was clearly erroneous to allow him to " buy out" her interest in the remainder interest he inherited for $125,000.00, because doing so created a substantial disparity that was not adequately justified or explained by the district court. On cross-appeal, Paul McCarthy argues the district court's award of spousal support to Carleen McCarthy was clearly erroneous because she did not prove she has a present or future need justifying the award. We affirm.

I

[¶2] Paul and Carleen McCarthy were married in 1998. Before their marriage,

Page 765

Paul McCarthy inherited a one-half remainder interest in 1,642 acres of farmland and a 2.5 acre farmstead. Once married, the couple moved onto the farmstead, where they continued to live until their separation. The parties have three minor children. Paul McCarthy is the sole shareholder of McCarthy Electric, Inc., and has an annual gross income of $62,459. Carleen McCarthy works as a teacher in Devils Lake and has an annual gross income of $45,729.

[¶3] In 2012, Carleen McCarthy sued for divorce. Shortly after, the parties stipulated to entry of partial judgment, resolving all child-related issues and granting primary residential responsibility to Carleen McCarthy. A judgment was subsequently entered that included the terms of the partial judgment. Under the judgment, the district court distributed the marital estate and ordered Paul McCarthy to pay spousal and child support. In regard to the allocation of the marital estate, which is at issue in this appeal, the district court valued the marital property at $936,106.35. Of that amount, $751,453.00 is attributable to a one-half remainder interest in approximately 1,642 acres of farmland that was granted to Paul McCarthy prior to the parties' marriage. Paul McCarthy's mother currently owns a life estate interest in the property, but upon her death, he and ...


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