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Greene v. Greene

Supreme Court of Delaware

November 25, 2014

CASSIDY A. MOORE GREENE, [1] Respondent Below, Appellant,
v.
FRANK W. GREENE, Petitioner Below, Appellee

Submitted September 12, 2014

Case Closed December 11, 2014.

Editorial Note:

This decision has been designated as "Table of Decisions Without Published Opinions." in the Atlantic Reporter.

Court Below--Family Court of State of Delaware in and for New Castle County. File No. CN13-01243. Pet. No. 13-01500.

Before HOLLAND, RIDGELY and VALIHURA, Justices.

ORDER

Henry duPont Ridgely, Justice

This 25th day of November 2014, upon consideration of the parties' briefs and the Family Court record, it appears to the Court that:

(1) The appellant, Cassidy A. Moore Greene (hereinafter " Wife" ), filed this appeal from the Family Court's August 27, 2013 order that decided issues of property division and alimony ancillary to the parties' divorce. Wife also appeals the Family Court's September 24, 2013 order that granted in part and denied in part Wife's motion for reargument. Having found no merit to the appeal, we affirm the judgment of the Family Court.

(2) In an appeal from an order dividing marital property and determining alimony, this Court reviews the facts and the law as well as the inferences and deductions made by the Family Court.[2] We will not disturb findings of fact unless they are clearly wrong and justice requires that they be overturned.[3] Conclusions of law are reviewed de novo.[4] If the Family Court has correctly applied the law our standard of review is abuse of discretion.[5] When the determination of facts turns upon the credibility of witnesses who testified under oath before the trial judge, this Court will not substitute its opinion for that of the trial judge.[6]

(3) The parties in this case married in February 2011, separated in July 2012, and divorced in March 2013. It was the second marriage for both. The appellee, Frank W. Greene (hereinafter " Husband" ), testified that he was married to his former wife for forty-one years until her death in 2009. Wife testified that she was previously married to a West African prince and was divorced in 1982.

(4) The Family Court held a hearing on August 13, 2013. In the August 27, 2013 order that followed, the court (i) denied Wife's request for alimony, (ii) valued and divided the parties' interests in a condominium (hereinafter " condo" ), and (iii) allocated responsibility for the payment of a $152,000.00 home equity loan.

(5) In her motion for reargument of the August 27, 2013 order, Wife claimed that the Family Court erred (i) when denying her request for alimony, (ii) when placing a value on the condo in the absence of an expert opinion, (iii) when awarding her only 5% interest in the condo, and (iv) when holding her responsible for half of the home equity loan. Also, Wife claimed that the court did not address her request for personal property. In its order of September 24, 2013, the Family Court denied all of Wife's claims except one. Agreeing that it erred when valuing the condo, the court revalued the condo and amended the August 27, 2013 order accordingly.

(6) In her first claim on appeal, Wife argues that the Family Court erred when ruling that she was ineligible for alimony. To receive alimony, a person must prove that " he or she is a dependent party" under title 13, section 1512 of the Delaware Code. Under that section, a person may be awarded alimony only if the person " [l]acks sufficient property, including any award of marital property made by the Court, to provide for his or her reasonable needs" [7] and " [i]s unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment." [8] Also, absent unusual ...


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