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Osdoba v. Kelley-Osdoba

Supreme Court of South Dakota

June 6, 2018

DANIEL OSDOBA, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
AMY B. KELLEY-OSDOBA, Defendant and Appellee.

          CONSIDERED ON BRIEFS ON JANUARY 8, 2018

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT MINNEHAHA COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE LAWRENCE E. LONG Judge

          GREGORY T. BREWERS of Strange, Farrell, Johnson & Brewers, P.C. Sioux Falls, South Dakota Attorneys for plaintiff and appellant.

          KRISTINE K. O'CONNELL ARON A. HOGDEN of Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith, P.C. Sioux Falls, South Dakota Attorneys for defendant and appellee.

          OPINION

          GILBERTSON, CHIEF JUSTICE

         [¶1.] This appeal concerns the divorce of Daniel Osdoba from Amy Kelley- Osdoba. At the conclusion of the divorce proceedings, the circuit court accepted Amy's valuation of the parties' residence at $574, 340, which differed from Daniel's valuation of $611, 000 due to a 6% discount that accounted for realtor fees. The circuit court also included Amy's student loans in the marital corpus. The student loans were incurred while Amy attended medical school before the parties were married. Further, the circuit court ordered Amy to make a cash-equalization payment to Daniel, but it allowed Amy to make the payment over time with an interest rate of 4%. Daniel was also awarded alimony upon the condition that he annually release his medical and counseling records to Amy. Finally, the circuit court denied Daniel's request for attorney fees. Daniel appeals. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2.] Daniel and Amy met while Amy was attending medical school in Iowa City, Iowa. Before that time, Daniel was working in Minneapolis after completing his Associate's Degree in Photographic Arts and Graphic Design. Daniel eventually moved in with Amy but had a hard time finding work in Iowa City. Daniel eventually found work in a restaurant. Daniel and Amy were married on June 5, 2004, after Amy's last year of medical school. Within a few weeks of being married, Daniel and Amy moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where they would stay for the next four years as Amy completed her residency program.

          [¶3.] During Amy's residency program, Daniel worked as a cook and a grocery-store stocker as he had a hard time finding a job in his field of study. Amy gave birth to twin boys during the third year of her residency program. After the birth of the twins, Daniel became a stay-at-home dad.

         [¶4.] In 2011, Amy accepted a job at Sanford in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as an ob-gyn specialist. The family moved to Sioux Falls from Des Moines, Iowa, where Amy was previously working after completing her residency program. While in Sioux Falls, Amy gave birth to their third son on August 16, 2012. Daniel continued staying at home and caring for the children at the couple's new home in Sioux Falls.

         [¶5.] On January 26, 2015, Amy petitioned the circuit court for a temporary protection order after Daniel exhibited threatening behavior. The circuit court granted the temporary protection order. Daniel filed for divorce two days later, and Amy filed a counterclaim seeking the same. The court ordered Daniel to undergo a psychological evaluation, which resulted in a recommendation for psychotherapy and a dismissal of the temporary restraining order. However, Amy was granted a second temporary restraining order on October 20, 2015, after Daniel exhibited more threatening behavior. The circuit court concluded that Daniel's mental-health issues contributed to the failing marriage.

         [¶6.] Subsequently, Daniel and Amy's divorce trial was held November 8-9, 2016. At the conclusion of the trial, the circuit court made partial rulings from the bench. The circuit court issued a decree of divorce for Daniel and Amy based on irreconcilable differences. The court also divided property, awarded Daniel alimony, and set child support. On November 28, 2016, the circuit court issued a letter decision that supplemented its bench ruling. On December 30, 2016, the circuit court entered its final judgment and decree of divorce.

         [¶7.] Under its rulings relevant to this appeal, the circuit court accepted Amy's valuation of the parties' home at $574, 340. This valuation was determined by taking a 6% discount for realtor fees from Daniel's proposed valuation of $611, 000. The circuit court also included Amy's student-loan debt into the marital corpus that she had incurred during medical school. After division of the property, the circuit court ordered Amy to pay a cash-equalization payment of $45, 364 to Daniel. However, the circuit court allowed Amy the option to make the equalization payment over 48 months with 4% interest. The circuit court also awarded Daniel alimony on the condition that Daniel provide an annual release of his medical and counseling records to Amy. Daniel will receive decreasing alimony payments starting at $3, 000 a month and ending at $1, 000 a month over 14 years. Finally, the circuit court denied Daniel's request for attorney fees.

          [¶8.] Daniel appeals, raising the following issues of alleged error:

1. Whether the circuit court erred in its valuation of the marital residence.
2. Whether the circuit court abused its discretion in including Amy's student-loan debt in the marital estate.
3. Whether the circuit court abused its discretion in allowing Amy the option of making the equalization payment over time with 4% interest.
4. Whether the circuit court abused its discretion in requiring that Daniel annually release his medical and counseling records to Amy as a condition of receiving alimony.
5. Whether the circuit court abused its discretion in declining to award Daniel his attorney fees.

         Standard of Review

         [¶9.] We review a circuit court's factual findings, which includes the valuation of property involved in a divorce proceeding, under the clearly erroneous standard of review. Johnson v. Johnson, 2007 S.D. 56, ¶ 16, 734 N.W.2d 801, 806; accord SDCL 15-6-52(a). "We will overturn the [circuit] court's findings of fact on appeal only when a complete review of the evidence leaves [this] Court with a definite and ...


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