from the District Court of Cass County, East Central Judicial
District, the Honorable Steven L. Marquart, Judge.
Jonathan T. Garaas, Fargo, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.
K. Johnson III, Grand Forks, ND, for defendant and appellant.
VandeWalle, Chief Justice.
1] Gaye Swanson appealed a judgment dividing marital property
between her and her former husband, Roy Swanson. We conclude
the district court's findings on division of property are
not clearly erroneous. We affirm the judgment.
2] Gaye and Roy Swanson were married in 1969. The couple
began living separately in August 2006 and in August 2016,
Roy Swanson filed for divorce. After a three day trial, the
district court granted the divorce based on irreconcilable
differences under N.D.C.C. § 14-05-03. In considering
the Ruff-Fischer guidelines, the district court
weighed evidence regarding each party's fault and
concluded neither party's fault would influence the
3] The district court divided the marital property and
awarded Roy Swanson approximately sixty-five (65) percent and
Gaye Swanson thirty-five (35) percent of the marital estate.
Included in Roy Swanson's property distribution was the
couple's farmland inherited from his mother, the
family's seed business, and nearly $1.8 million in debt.
Gaye Swanson was awarded over $370, 000 worth of property,
various personal and farm assets, a life insurance policy on
Roy Swanson's life, and approximately $11, 000 in
personal debt. Included in Gaye Swanson's distribution
was property she claimed was owned by her sons and a 2007
Hummer, valued at $10, 000, Gaye Swanson claims to have owned
with her son. Additionally, the court ordered Roy Swanson to
pay $1, 000 per month in spousal support for five years.
4] On appeal, Gaye Swanson contends the district court erred
by inequitably dividing the marital estate, by not
considering Roy Swanson's fault in the deterioration of
the marriage and the parties' finances, and in finding
that she, rather than her children, owned property included
in the marital estate.
5] This Court will not reverse the district court's
decision related to property distribution unless the findings
are clearly erroneous. Berg v. Berg, 2018 ND 79,
¶ 6, 908 N.W.2d 705. "A finding of fact is clearly
erroneous only if it is induced by an erroneous view of the
law, if there is no evidence to support a finding, or if,
although there is some evidence to support it, on the entire
evidence, we are left with a firm conviction a mistake has
been made." Thompson v. Thompson, 2018 ND 21,
¶ 29, 905 N.W.2d 772. "This Court views the
evidence in the light most favorable to the findings, and the
district court's findings of fact are presumptively
correct." Hitz v. Hitz, 2008 ND 58, ¶ 10,
746 N.W.2d 732. A district court's "choice between
two permissible views of the weight of the evidence is not
clearly erroneous, and this Court will not reverse simply
because it may have viewed the evidence differently."
Rebel v. Rebel, 2013 ND 116, ¶ 9, 833 N.W.2d
442. On appeal, we do not reweigh conflicts in the evidence,
and we give due regard to the trial court's opportunity
to judge the credibility of the witnesses. Id.
6] Section 14-05-24(1), N.D.C.C., requires a district court
to make an equitable division of the parties' marital
estate. Rebel v. Rebel, 2016 ND 144, ¶ 7, 882
N.W.2d 256. "In making an equitable distribution of
marital property, a court must consider all of the
parties' assets." Id. "After including
the parties' marital assets and debts in the marital
estate," the court must consider the
RuffFischer guidelines in distributing the assets:
[T]he respective ages of the parties, their earning ability,
the duration of the marriage and conduct of the parties
during the marriage, their station in life, the circumstances
and necessities of each, their health and physical condition,
their financial circumstances as shown by the property owned
at the time, its value at the time, its income-producing
capacity, if any, whether accumulated before or after the
marriage, and such other matters as may be material.
Id. The district court is not required to make
specific findings on each factor, but must explain the
rationale for its decision. Berg, 2018 ND 79, ¶
7, 908 N.W.2d 705. A district court must also explain a
substantial disparity in its ...