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Sanning v. Sanning

June 15, 2010

LEE W. SANNING, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
JAMISON PIKE SANNING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Albany County, The Honorable Jeffrey A. Donnell, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kite, Justice.

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] The district court awarded a cabin to Jamison Sanning (Wife) as part of the property distribution incorporated into the parties' divorce decree. Lee Sanning (Husband) claims the district court abused its discretion by relying upon sentimental value to award the cabin to Wife and the court's factual findings regarding the cabin were not supported by the trial evidence.

[¶2] We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion and affirm.

ISSUES

[¶3] Husband presents the following issues on appeal:

1. Whether a divorcing spouse's claimed "sentimental value" in joint marital property permits the disproportionate division of marital assets.

2. Whether a trial court abuses its discretion when its findings on division of property in a divorce are not supported by the evidence.

Wife maintains that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the marital assets.

FACTS

[¶4]Wife's grandparents owned a cabin which is located on state land adjacent to Priest Lake in Idaho. The grandparents had purchased the cabin in the 1950s, and Wife spent many summers there while growing up.

[¶5] After they were married, Husband and Wife spent time at the cabin. The grandparents, who were in their eighties, decided that they would dispose of the cabin because it had become too expensive and difficult to maintain. They considered giving it to family members, but were worried about the burden of owning the cabin, so they offered it for sale. Husband and Wife decided they would like the cabin, and they purchased it in 2002 for $50,000.

[¶6] Wife filed for divorce on March 5, 2008. The parties were able to agree on custody of their young daughter, but could not agree on the distribution of the marital property. The primary item in dispute was the Idaho cabin. Evidence presented at trial established that Husband's family had gifted the parties the $50,000 used to purchase the property. The evidence also indicated that Husband was fond of the cabin, had done a great deal of work on it and had the ability to maintain it. Wife testified that the cabin held many memories for her and her family, she had paid the lease and other expenses associated with the cabin after the parties separated, and she could maintain it with her family's help.

[ΒΆ7] The district court's property distribution, explained in its decision letter, awarded the cabin to Wife, but required her to reimburse Husband for the purchase price. After the district ...


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