Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
In Re the Marriage of: CATHERINE S. CUNNINGHAM, and ROGER D. CUNNINGHAM, CATHERINE S. CUNNINGHAM, Petitioner/Respondent,
ROGER D. CUNNINGHAM, Respondent/Appellant.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CRAWFORD COUNTY Honorable Sidney T.
Pearson, III, Circuit Judge
WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., P.J.
D. Cunningham ("Husband") appeals the trial
court's judgment dissolving his marriage to Catherine S.
Cunningham ("Wife"). In four points, Husband
asserts the trial court erred in failing to classify and set
aside his nonmarital property; that the allocation of marital
property and debt was not supported by substantial evidence
in that the trial court awarded Wife a disproportionate share
of the value of the marital property; in finding the parties
stipulated that the division of property was equal; and
finding that both parties testified to the value of certain
real property. Finding no merit to Husband's four points
on appeal, we affirm.
and Procedural History
the evidence and its reasonable available inferences in the
light most favorable to the judgment. Landewee v.
Landewee, 515 S.W.3d 691, 694 (Mo. banc 2017). We recite
only those facts relevant to our disposition, and as
necessary for context.
parties were married on December 21, 2002, and separated on
February 11, 2016. Both parties were gainfully employed
throughout the marriage, but finances were kept separate
until 2013 when the parties opened a joint checking account.
During the marriage, both parties contributed financially to
the marital household.
to the marriage, Husband owned a parcel of land with a
residence located in Cuba, Missouri (the "Cuba
property"). Husband purchased the property in
approximately 1996 with a former wife. The Cuba property
became the marital home upon the parties' marriage.
Husband owed approximately $80, 000 on the Cuba property at
that time. Title to the Cuba property remained in
November 26, 2014, the parties purchased a parcel of land,
including a house, located in Hillsboro, Missouri (the
"Hillsboro property") for $91, 500. Wife used funds
received from an inheritance to make a down payment of $20,
000. The title to the property was in Husband's name
only. Husband then financed the balance of approximately $71,
500. Thereafter, Wife's daughter moved into the property,
paying rent to Wife, who deposited those funds in a joint
checking account with Husband. After the separation, Wife
instructed daughter to pay her rent directly to Husband.
Daughter occupied the premises until October 2017, when she
was evicted by Husband for non-payment of rent.
January 2016, the parties agreed to refinance the Cuba
property to pay off the Hillsboro mortgage. Appraisals valued
the Cuba property at approximately $170, 000, and the
Hillsboro property at $94, 000. At the time of refinancing,
the debt on the Cuba property was $41, 000, and the debt on
the Hillsboro property was $71, 000. After refinancing, the
Cuba property remained in Husband's name only. At the
time of trial, the debt on the Cuba property was
approximately $107, 000.
parties also purchased a parcel of land in Sullivan (the
"Sullivan property") for $20, 000, consisting of 5
acres of undeveloped land.
parties utilized four vehicles, Husband's nonmarital
Dodge truck, a 1997 Ford Taurus, a 2003 Ford Escape, and a
2013 Kia Rio.
property at issue were each parties' respective
checking/savings accounts, and 401K/retirement accounts held
in their own name; a joint Edward Jones account in the amount
of $25, 000; bank accounts and/or savings accounts of Wife
and Husband; a Branson timeshare; and a desk, cedar chest,
chest of drawers, sewing machine, china cabinet, a glass
cabinet, and a vacuum cleaner.
hearing was held on February 26, 2018, and both parties
testified. Wife testified, without objection:
• that the parties agreed and stipulated that each party
would receive their respective bank accounts and
401K/retirement accounts held in their own names (with no
stated value); and that she could have personal property
consisting of a desk, cedar chest, chest of drawers, sewing
machine, china cabinet, a glass case, and a vacuum, with no
stated she would like the trial court to award her additional
marital property consisting of:
• the Hillsboro property, with a value of $94, 000,
which was free and clear of any indebtedness. Wife confirmed
she had used $20, 000 from an inheritance as a down payment
to purchase the property;
• the 2003 Ford Escape, with a value of $2, 500-$3, 000;
• the 2013 Kia, with Husband to pay any remaining
balance owed since Husband had agreed to take a tax refund
and pay the balance off, which he failed to do. Wife was
aware that Husband had been driving the Kia when he was
rear-ended, and that repairs were to be made from insurance
• savings bonds in her grandchildren's names, which
were bought out of an inheritance, with no stated value.
Wife testified that Husband could have:
• his nonmarital Dodge pickup, with no stated value;
• the Cuba property (Husband had prior to the marriage)
with an appraised value of $170, 000, with Husband to pay the
indebtedness of approximately $107, 000. Wife testified she
would be willing to pay Husband the sum of $20, 000 toward
the indebtedness, although stating that at the time of the
marriage, Husband owed approximately $80, 000, and at the
time it was refinanced, it was paid down to approximately
• the Sullivan property, which was purchased for $20,
000, but no stated current value;
• the Branson timeshare, with no stated value;
• the 1997 Ford Taurus, with a value of approximately
$2, 000; and
• the jointly-titled Edward Jones account in the amount
of $25, 000.
indicated that she contributed to the marital home during the
marriage from wages, unemployment and medical leave earnings.
She earned approximately $30, 000 a year. Wife admitted that
since the separation, she had not financially contributed to
the marital debt, and that Husband basically continued to pay
everything, including (for a time) her auto and health
stated that she currently lived in an apartment paying $500
per month in rent. At the time of the separation, Wife moved
to California to live with her son. Three months later, Wife
returned to Missouri, found employment, and rented an
apartment. She was unable to live in the Hillsboro
property-even though vacant-because Husband refused to give
her the keys.
testified, without objection, he would like the trial court
to award him:
• the Cuba property (which he testified he owned prior
to the marriage), and pay only $40, 000 (the balance due at
the time of the refinancing) toward the outstanding
indebtedness of approximately $107, 000. Husband gave no
testimony as to the value of the Cuba property, nor disputed
Wife's testimony that, pursuant to a recent appraisal
(that Husband paid for), the value of the property was
approximately $170, 000;
• the Sullivan property, (no stated value);
• the 2003 Ford Escape, he valued at $875;
• the 1997 Ford Taurus, he valued at $100;
• the Branson timeshare, (no stated value);
• the joint Edward Jones savings account, in the amount
of $25, 000; and
• his bank accounts, and 401K/retirement accounts in ...