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2008-UP-145 - Yown v. Yown

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Judy Anne Yown, Respondent,

v.

William Robert Yown, Appellant.


Appeal From Spartanburg County
 Georgia V. Anderson, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2008-UP-145
Submitted November 1, 2007 – Filed March 6, 2008   


AFFIRMED


David Michael Collins, Jr., of Spartanburg, for Appellant.

Edward A. Lamb, Richard H. Rhodes, both of Spartanburg, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: William Robert Yown (Husband) appeals from the family court order granting Judy Anne Yown (Wife) a divorce, arguing the family court erred in its determination of marital property, valuation of special equity interests, and equitable division of the marital estate.  We affirm.[1]

FACTS

Husband and Wife were married on September 16, 1998.  At the time of the marriage, both parties owned a pre-marital home and other personal pre-marital property.  Approximately two years into the marriage, Husband and Wife purchased a marital residence and subsequently sold their non-marital homes.[2]  A substantial portion of Husband’s proceeds from the sale of his non-marital home was paid toward the mortgage on the marital home and a lot adjoining the marital residence, both of which were titled jointly.  The remaining money from the sale of the non-marital homes was deposited into a joint checking account.[3]

Approximately seven years into the marriage, Husband and Wife separated, and Wife brought a separate maintenance action seeking equitable division of the marital estate and attorney’s fees.  At the hearing, Wife moved to amend her complaint to request a divorce on the ground of one year continuous separation.  The family court granted Wife’s motion and issued an order granting a divorce, dividing the marital estate equally between the parties, and awarding each party special equity interests in certain items of the marital estate.  This appeal followed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The family court has broad discretion in determining how marital property is to be valued and distributed; therefore, the court may use any reasonable means to divide the property equitably, and its judgment will only be disturbed where an abuse of discretion is found.  LaFrance v. LaFrance, 370 S.C. 622, 650-651, 636 S.E.2d 3, 18 (2006).  In reviewing the family court’s equitable apportionment of marital property, an appellate court’s role is to examine the fairness of the apportionment as a whole.  Id. (citing Bragg v. Bragg, 347 S.C. 16, 24, 553 S.E.2d 251, 255 (Ct. App. 2001)).  Generally, an appellate court will affirm the family court if it can be determined the judge addressed the factors under the marital property statute sufficiently for the appellate court to conclude the judge was cognizant of the statutory factors.  Id. (citing Jenkins v. Jenkins, 345 S.C. 88, 100, 545 S.E.2d 531, 537 (Ct. App. 2001)); see S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-472 (1985).

LAW/ANALYSIS

Property Adjoining Marital Residence and Special Equity Interests

Husband alleges the family court erred by classifying the property adjoining the marital residence as marital property.  Husband also maintains the family court erred in its identification and valuation of the special equity interests of both parties in the marital residence.  We disagree. 

Husband asserts the adjoining lot was nonmarital property because it was purchased with proceeds from the sale of his pre-marital home.  Husband’s home was pre-marital property, and, ordinarily, property acquired in exchange for pre-marital property is not considered marital property.  However:

[i]n certain circumstances, nonmarital property may be transmuted into marital property if: (1) it becomes so commingled with marital property as to be untraceable; (2) it is jointly titled; or (3) it is utilized by the parties in support of the marriage or in some other manner so as to evidence an intent by the parties to make it marital property.

Greene v. Greene, 351 S.C. 329, 338, 569 S.E.2d 393, 398 (Ct. App. 2002)(internal citations omitted).  The property adjoining the marital estate was titled jointly.  The parties constructed a barn on the adjoining land and used it to store personal property belonging to both Husband and Wife.  The barn was constructed using an equity line of credit, which was paid with funds from the couples’ joint account.  For these reasons, we do not find the family court erred by classifying the property adjoining the marital estate as marital property.  Furthermore, Husband was awarded a special equity interest for funds from the sale of his pre-marital home, which he contributed to the adjoining lot.       

Husband also claims the family court erred in its identification and valuation of the special equity interests of both parties in the marital residence.  In the present case, the family court considered and ruled upon the special equity interests of both Husband and Wife.  Accordingly, if Husband believed the family court overlooked or failed to specifically rule on some additional special equity interest, he had the burden of presenting this issue to the family court.  However, Husband did not file a Rule 59(e), SCRCP, motion raising the issue of a specific equity interest valuation to the family court, and thus, we find this issue is not preserved for appeal. See Wilder Corp. v. Wilke, 330 S.C. 71, 76, 497 S.E.2d 731, 733 (1998); see also Halbersberg v. Berry, 302 S.C. 97, 103, 394 S.E.2d 7, 12 (1990) (finding the omission of the master in equity not preserved because the party did not bring the omission to the attention of the master through a proper motion).

The Division of the Marital Estate

Husband further alleges the family court erred in calculating the division of the marital estate.  Specifically, Husband argues the family court erred by counting the value of the adjoining property twice in the equitable division.  We find this issue is not preserved.  

After the family court issued its order, Husband did not file a Rule 59(e), SCRCP, motion raising the issue of the double-inclusion of the adjoining lot to the family court judge.  Thus, we find this issue is not preserved for appeal.  See Wilder, 330 S.C. at 76, 497 S.E.2d at 733; see also Halbersberg, 302 S.C. at 103, 394 S.E.2d at 12.

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, we find the family court did not err in its determination of marital property, valuation of special equity interests, or equitable division of the marital estate.  Accordingly, the decision of the family court is

AFFIRMED.

ANDERSON, SHORT, and WILLIAMS JJ., concur.


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.

[2] Prior to the marriage, Wife had a house, with a mortgage, at 106 Blueberry Lane, Inman, and Husband had a house, with a mortgage, at 116 Shenandoah Drive, Spartanburg.  After the marriage, Husband and Wife resided in Husband’s Shenandoah home for approximately two years until they moved to 221 Williams Drive, Campobello.

[3] From the beginning of their marriage, Husband and Wife shared a joint checking account, which was managed by Husband with the Wife’s consent.  Both incomes, which were approximately equal, went into this account, and all bills, including mortgages and expenses for their non-marital properties were paid from this account.