Husband Who Contributed 13 Percent of Initial Equity in Farming Partnership With Brother Was 50 Percent Owner for Purposes of Dividing Marital Estate in Dissolution.

A couple divorced in 2010. Eight years before the divorce, the husband had entered into a farming partnership with his brother. The husband contributed $80,526 in equity and his brother contributed $471,066 in equity. At the divorce trial, the wife’s expert testified that the husband’s 2010 equity interest in the partnership was $946,280 and his brother’s was $1,336,820. The trial court agreed that the husband had a 50 percent ownership in the partnership (after accounting for the differences in initial contributions), and ordered the husband to make a $946,280 equalization payment to the wife. The court also found that the wife was entitled to a $20,000 credit in the division of the marital estate for a gift her mother had given her to remodel the basement of the marital home. The couple rented the home from the husband’s parents, but the wife and her mother testified that the gift was made in reliance upon promises that the husband and wife would eventually own the home. On appeal, the husband claimed that he owned only a 13-percent interest in the partnership and that a minority interest discount should also apply. In affirming the judgment, the appellate court ruled that the district court did not abuse its discretion. The husband and his brother had represented on financial documents, tax returns, and USDA disclosures that they each owned an equal share. Additionally, the partners had equally shared profits, losses, income, expenses, and depreciation. The court also found that the district court was in the best position to weigh the credibility of the parties in determining that the $20,000 was a non-marital gift. Kunnemann v. Kunnemann, No. A-13-276, 2014 Neb. App. LEXIS 105 (Neb. Ct. App. Jun. 10, 2014).

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