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Langwald v. Langwald

Supreme Court of North Dakota

April 15, 2016

Nathan Langwald, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Patricia Lee Langwald, Defendant and Appellant

Page 72

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 73

          Appeal from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest Judicial District, the Honorable Robin A. Schmidt, Judge.

         Thomas J. Corcoran, Williston, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

         H. Malcolm Pippin, Williston, ND, for defendant and appellant.

         Dale V. Sandstrom, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Lisa Fair McEvers, Gary H. Lee, Dist. Judge, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J. Opinion of the Court by Sandstrom, Justice. The Honorable Gary H. Lee, District Judge, sitting in place of Crothers, J., disqualified.

          OPINION

Page 74

         Dale V. Sandstrom, Justice.

          [¶1] Patricia Langwald appeals from a divorce judgment distributing the parties' marital property and awarding child support. She argues the district court incorrectly valued and distributed the marital property. She also argues the district court incorrectly calculated child support. We affirm the judgment of the district court regarding the property valuation and distribution, and reverse and remand for the district court to properly calculate child support.

         I

          [¶2] Nathan and Patricia Langwald were married in 1994 and have three children. Before their marriage, he purchased farming property from his parents through a contract for deed. During their marriage, he worked on the family farms while she was the primary caregiver for the children. She was also involved in the farming operations by assisting with payroll, paying bills, and keeping books for the business. In 2011, Nathan Langwald was in a motorcycle accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury requiring several months in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. For a period following the accident, he was unable to farm. Patricia Langwald continued to care for the children, the rental properties, and the farm and business operations. She also obtained his power of attorney following the accident. In 2012, she rented the entirety of the " contract for deed" farmland for approximately $47,000 per year. In 2013, Nathan Langwald began taking back some of the farmland to farm himself and cash rented the balance.

          [¶3] Patricia Langwald initially sued her husband for divorce in Montana. Discussion between the parties led to her dismissing the Montana divorce action because the bulk of the marital estate was in North Dakota. He then sued her for divorce in North Dakota. At the 2015 trial, Nathan Langwald called Justin Jones as an expert witness to testify to the value of the parties' real property. Betty McGuire was Patricia Langwald's expert witness to the same. After trial, the district court awarded $1,231,919.51 in marital assets to him and $776,429.47 in marital assets to her and ordered him to pay $100,000 in equalization payments. The court gave her primary residential responsibility of the three children of the marriage and ordered him to pay child support.

          [¶4] The district court had jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art. VI, § 8, and N.D.C.C. § 27-05-06. The appeal is timely under N.D.R.App.P. 4(a). This Court has jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art. VI, § 6, and N.D.C.C. § 28-27-01.

         II

          [¶5] Patricia Langwald argues the district court's property valuation was clearly erroneous. She argues the ...


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