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Havlik v. Havlik

Supreme Court of South Dakota

December 10, 2014

JULIA HAVLIK, individually and representing HAVLIK FARMS, INC., Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
GEORGE HAVLIK, EDWARD HAVLIK and BRIAN HAVLIK, Defendants and Appellants

Considered on Briefs November 17, 2014

Page 423

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT BRULE COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE BRUCE V. ANDERSON, Judge.

DAVID J. LARSON, JESSICA HEGGE of, Larson Law, PC, Chamberlain, South Dakota, Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee.

RORY KING of, Bantz, Gosch & Cremer, LLC, Aberdeen, South Dakota, Attorneys for defendants and appellants.

ZINTER, Justice. GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and KONENKAMP, SEVERSON, and WILBUR, Justices, concur.

OPINION

Page 424

ZINTER, Justice

[¶1] Julia and George Havlik were married and operated a farm together. Julia filed for a separation, a division of their marital assets, and later sought support. The circuit court divided the parties' property and ordered George to pay Julia monthly spousal support because of a disparity in their social security benefits. George appeals the support award. We reverse.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] Julia and George Havlik, who had been married for sixty-five years, operated a family farm. This case began when Julia filed a complaint against George alleging fraud, lack of consideration, mistake of fact, and waste in connection with a number of transactions involving the farm. The two separated, and Julia amended her complaint to also seek a separation and a division of their marital assets. She later sought spousal support.

[¶3] Numerous issues in the case were resolved incrementally over a period of time. The circuit court made an initial property award on February 2, 2009. That award was amended on September 28, 2011. Each party was to receive $504,487.04, and George was to pay Julia a $78,122.16 equalization payment. Each party also received half of the farmland, which their son was to rent from Julia for $48,000 a year.

[¶4] At an April 19, 2011 hearing, the circuit court determined that George should pay Julia $300 per month " to equalize" their social security benefits (George was receiving $1,325 and Julia was receiving $599 per month). There was a delay in filing a conforming order because George's counsel was contemplating an appeal and did not want the time to appeal to start until all property division issues were resolved. The conforming order was signed on September 6, 2011. The order provided that George was to pay Julia " $300.00 per month during her lifetime . . . in consideration of the disparity of their social security income and shall be treated as spousal support."

[¶5] The September 6, 2011 order was not served on George's counsel, and George did not make the monthly payments. Julia died in October 2012. On November 13, 2012, George's counsel sent a letter to Julia's counsel indicating that they " have not yet received [the] Order with Notice of Entry of Judgment entering the [support] amount." On November 15, 2012, Julia's counsel replied, indicating " [they did] still need to resolve the issue of the amounts due under the support [order]" and that " [he would] try to come up with a number George owe[d] on support yet through Julia's passing." On January 15, 2013, the order was filed. On January 16, 2013, George's ...


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