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Hagan v. Hagan

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division

October 11, 2017

MARSHA HAGAN, Respondent,
v.
MARK A. HAGAN, Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF POLK COUNTY Honorable John C. Porter, Judge

          OPINION

          DANIEL E. SCOTT, J.

         Mark Hagan challenges the overall property division and four rulings as to specific property in the judgment dissolving his marriage. We affirm.

         Background[1]

         Mark and Marsha had been married more than 30 years when she caught him in his second affair, this time with an 18-year-old employee of his bowling alley. Mark refused Marsha's repeated requests to end the affair, so she eventually moved out. The 18-year-old moved into the marital home with Mark, where she still lived at the time of trial.

         After Marsha petitioned to dissolve the marriage, the court entered an order requiring preservation of marital assets. Ignoring this, Mark conveyed his bowling alley to his father's trust without the consent of Marsha or the court or notifying his own divorce lawyer. This was among Mark's several "tomfooleries" (as the court called them elsewhere on the record) cited in the final judgment:

[Mark] squandered, secreted and conveyed to others (particularly his parents) significant assets that could have been divided between the parties. These assets include, without limitation, (a) a significant number of firearms that [Mark] claims to have disposed of prior to separation, but for which he was completely unable to present any evidence supporting such dispositions, (b) a debt of $16, 500 owed to the parties by Springfield Clutch & Gear, an entity controlled by [Mark's] father, that [Mark] received payment on but did not account for or share with [Marsha], (c) a 2002 Polaris Camo 4-wheeler sold by [Mark] prior to trial, and [Mark] retained all of the proceeds thereof exclusively for himself, and (d) substantially all of the assets of Buffalo Bowl & Arcade, L.C., an entity that owned and operated a bowling alley business, which assets were conveyed by [Mark] to his parents in February 2015, without notice to [Marsha] or this Court, and without [Mark] causing any appraisals or other valuations or due diligence to have been conducted in order to determine the value of such assets prior to conveying them.[2]

         Such actions, and the trial court's credibility determinations, led to the court's stated intent to split marital property "65/35" in Marsha's favor. Ultimately, as calculated and reflected in the final judgment, Marsha received 59.4% of the net marital estate.

         General Observations

         Mark's points each criticize property classification, valuation, or division. These are areas where the trial court enjoyed broad discretion, so we will interfere only if the resulting division was so one-sided as to show abuse of discretion, which is Mark's burden to prove. See Landewee, 515 S.W.3d at 694.

         Even more fundamentally, we can reverse this court-tried judgment only if no substantial evidence supports it, or it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law. Landewee, 515 S.W.3d at 694 (citing Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976)). These being the only reasons to reverse any court-tried case, each of Mark's points should specify some Murphy v. Carron basis for relief. See Marriage of Sivils, No. SD34633, slip op. at 11-13 (Mo.App. Sept. 12, 2017); Smith v. Great Am. Assur. Co., 436 S.W.3d 700, 703-04 & n.3 (Mo.App. 2014).

         None do, nor are they salvaged if we interpret them as Murphy evidentiary challenges (the best "fit" for each) because their supporting arguments ignore Houston v. Crider, 317 S.W.3d 178, 186-89 (Mo.App. 2010), and its progeny, rendering them analytically useless, unpersuasive, and of no support for Mark's challenges. See Sivils, slip op. at 12; Marriage of Geske, 421 S.W.3d 490, 500-02 (Mo.App. 2013); Houston, 317 S.W.3d at 188, 189.

         We could affirm the judgment on this basis alone, but will briefly note other reasons to deny Mark's points, which we take out of order for convenience.

         Poin ...


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