Before McMILLIN, P.j., Diaz, And King, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLIN, P.j., For The Court:
THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/07/96
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ANTHONY THOMAS FARESE
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: MARSHALL COUNTY CHANCERY COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED DIVORCE ON GROUND OF IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES AND DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY AND ALIMONY
This is an appeal from a judgment resolving the financial aspects of the dissolution of the marriage of Karl Thompson and Bonnie Thompson. Mr. Thompson has appealed the chancellor's decision to award to Mrs. Thompson the balance due on $38,000 mortgage debt owed Mr. Thompson from the sale of a tract of land in Illinois. Finding that the award was within the realm of the chancellor's discretion in such matters, we affirm.
The Thompsons were married in 1974, but had lived separately since 1985. They mutually agreed to a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences in 1995. Unable to satisfactorily resolve issues of alimony and equitable distribution of marital property, the parties agreed in writing to submit those issues to the chancellor for resolution.
The proof showed that Mr. Thompson had owned a home prior to the marriage that became the marital domicile though it remained titled solely in his name. Mr. Thompson sold the home after the parties separated and realized $26,000 in net income from the sale. According to the proof, he gave $10,000 of the proceeds to Mrs. Thompson. The only other assets of significance acquired during the marriage consisted of a large tract of farm property in Marshall County, a parcel of property in Chicago, and another parcel of real property in Robbin, Illinois. All these properties were titled solely in Mr. Thompson's name.
Prior to the divorce proceeding, Mr. Thompson conveyed the unencumbered Chicago property to a female friend for no consideration. No definite value was shown for the Chicago tract, though there was evidence that the new owner had used the property as collateral for a $40,000 loan. Mr. Thompson also sold the Robbin, Illinois, tract for $45,000, providing owner financing to the purchasers. At the time of the divorce, the balance due on the mortgage was $38,000; however, the proof showed that the purchasers were two months in arrears on their payments. The Marshall County farm was encumbered by two mortgage loans and the combined balances on the two loans essentially equaled the market value of the property.
At the time of the divorce, Mr. Thompson was retired and drawing monthly pension benefits of $1,300 per month. Mrs. Thompson was working for AT&T and her net take home pay was $2,800 per month, though there was some indication that her job might be ...