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Lathrop v. Lathrop

April 25, 1973

LATHROP, RESPONDENT,
v.
LATHROP, APPELLANT



Appeal from Circuit Court, Lane County. Edwin E. Allen, Judge.

Richard E. Miller, Eugene, argued the cause for appellant. With him on the briefs were Miller, Moulton & Andrews, Eugene.

Frank E. Bocci, P.C., Eugene, argued the cause and filed the brief for respondent.

Thornton, Judge. Schwab, Chief Judge, and Foley, Judge.

Thornton

Defendant husband appeals from certain provisions of a divorce decree. In particular, the defendant challenges (a) the property division made by the trial court, (b) the award of $150 per month permanent support to plaintiff wife, and (c) his obligation to pay plaintiff's costs and $600 for her attorney's fees at trial.*fn1

At the time of the divorce the parties had been married for about 27 years, and both were about 46 years of age. Both parties worked during most of the marriage, and both contributed to their joint assets.

At trial, the parties disagreed as to the value of almost all of the assets. However, the disagreement centered on the valuation, and actual ownership, of an electrical contracting business purchased by both parties in 1968.

When plaintiff filed her divorce complaint the parties owned all of the stock in this company with an outstanding obligation of about $500 on one-half of the stock, and an obligation of about $5,400 on the other half of the stock. By the time of the hearing on the divorce, half of the stock, which was under the $5,400 obligation, had been "repossessed' for default on the purchase payments. Plaintiff was not aware of the default and the "repossession" until some time after these events occurred.

The evidence indicated that defendant had assets from which he could have made the payments on the stock purchase. Also, defendant testified that, although the stock had been "repossessed," still he could purchase it for the $5,400 obligation which was outstanding at the time of the "repossession." The trial court concluded that this "repossession" was really an attempt to deprive the plaintiff of an interest in the contracting business.

Plaintiff testified that this business was worth

at least $30,500, the purchase price paid by the parties in 1968. Defendant, at trial and on appeal, objected to this testimony contending that plaintiff was not competent to give a valuation for the business. Defendant ...


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