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Dane v. Dane

Supreme Court of Wyoming

March 15, 2016

WENDELLYN KAY DANE, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
KRIS ALAN DANE, Appellee (Defendant)

Page 915

          Appeal from the District Court of Sheridan County. The Honorable William J. Edelman, Judge.

         For Appellant: James P. Castberg, Castberg Law Office, Sheridan, Wyoming.

         For Appellee: Stacy M. Kirven, Barney & Graham, LLC, Sheridan, Wyoming.

         Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          OPINION

Page 916

          DAVIS, Justice.

          [¶1] After slightly more than three years of marriage, Wendellyn Dane (Wife) filed for divorce from Kris Dane (Husband). She appeals from the decree entered in that case. We affirm.

         ISSUES

          [¶2] Wife identifies three issues, which we condense into two and restate as follows:

I. Did the district court abuse its discretion in denying Wife's motion to amend her complaint to add a promissory estoppel claim, and in failing to enforce the alleged promise in its distribution of the couple's property?
II. Did the district court abuse its discretion by dividing the marital property as it did?

         FACTS

          [¶3] Husband and Wife first met in late 2008 when he decided to sell his condominium in Naples, Florida. Wife was a real estate agent designated to handle the resale of units in the condominium project of which his property was a part. At the time, Husband was approximately 61 years old, and Wife was 55.

          [¶4] After their initial contact, they did not see each other again until April of 2009, when Wife telephoned Husband to ask if she could rent a room in his condo. She had sold her own home and was planning to leave her boyfriend, with whom she was sharing an apartment. Husband agreed to rent her a furnished room and a bathroom for $500 per month.[1]

          [¶5] Within two months their relationship became romantic, and Wife no longer paid rent or contributed to household expenses. Over a period of two years, Husband took her golfing and on trips, and he paid approximately $8,000 in relation to her arrest for driving while intoxicated after drinking wine with a girlfriend one afternoon.

          [¶6] During those two years, Husband began to consider retiring, winding down his day-to-day involvement in businesses in which he had an interest, and moving to a cooler area of the country. He first concentrated on mountainous areas in the eastern United States, and he took Wife on a trip to explore a variety of options " up and down the east coast." He liked several locations, but she did not, and they thereafter shifted their focus to states in the Rocky Mountains. Their research and the recommendations of others eventually led them to take a trip to Sheridan, Wyoming in February of 2011.

          [¶7] During that trip, Husband made an offer on a house. In early April, the couple moved to Sheridan, and Husband completed the purchase of that home. A month later, he closed on the sale of his Florida condominium. On July 9, 2011, the couple wed.

          [¶8] Husband made the down payment on the Sheridan home from his personal funds, and because he and Wife were not yet married at the time, titled it only in his name. It was furnished almost entirely with items he had purchased for his condominium, and he made all the mortgage payments during the marriage. Husband also paid all household expenses and for all vehicles, because Wife brought few assets to the marriage and worked only sporadically at a real estate office in Sheridan.[2] Husband's ...


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