Submitted: December 14, 2018
Below: Family Court of the State of Delaware File No.
CK15-02506 Petition No. 15-26410
STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and TRAYNOR, Justices.
L. Valihura Justice.
consideration of the briefs of the parties and the Family
Court record, it appears to the Court that:
appellant, Amanda Langford ("Wife"), filed this
appeal from the Family Court's June 1, 2018 property
division order ancillary to her divorce from the appellee,
Bruce Langford ("Husband"). Wife claims that the
Family Court erred when dividing the parties' marital
estate. We conclude that Wife's claims are without merit
record reflects that the parties married on June 7, 2008,
separated on June 30, 2015, and divorced on April 1, 2016.
They have one child.
her Rule 52(d) pretrial stipulation, Wife listed her 401K
retirement account and the parties' marital home as
"assets in dispute." Wife indicated that she sought
"to retain" the retirement account because she had
taken a distribution from the account to pay off marital
debt. Wife indicated that she sought to retain the marital
residence with "[e]quity to [Husband] reduced for
failure to contribute." Husband did not complete his
portion of the Rule 52(d) pretrial stipulation. A final
hearing on property division was held on March 26, 2018.
Family Court has broad discretion when dividing a marital
estate.Under 13 Del. C. § 1513, the
Family Court is required to "equitably divide,
distribute and assign the marital
property." In this case, the Family Court divided the
parties' assets 60/40, awarding 60% to Wife and 40% to
Husband. The court allocated the parties' debts 40/60,
40% to Wife and 60% to Husband.
an appeal from an order dividing a marital estate, we review
the facts and the law as well as the inferences and
deductions made by the Family Court.We review conclusions of law
de novo, but if the law was correctly applied our
standard of review is abuse of discretion. We will not
disturb findings of fact unless they are clearly wrong and
justice requires that they be overturned.
following excerpt from the Family Court's June 1 order
fairly summarizes the parties' testimony at the March 26
property division hearing.
Wife primarily contributed to the marital estate during the
marriage. While Husband was employed, he testified to
spending a large portion of his income on narcotics, $25, 000
per year. Wife's contributions also came in the form of
caretaker to the parties' child and homemaker. Wife
testified, without contradiction, that Husband has not
contributed to any household expenses, which includes the
mortgages, since the parties' separation. Husband
testified Wife has solely maintained the marital residence
Wife currently resides in the former marital residence with
the parties' child and [a boarder]. [The boarder] moved
into the home in February or March of 2016 and has been
paying $500.00 a month since. The total rent collected to
date is $13, 500 [twenty-seven (27) months of $500.00 rent].
Husband seeks fifty percent (50%) of the rent collected.
Wife received a $25, 484.59 distribution from her 401k in
early 2016, which she asserts was used to satisfy the
parties' mortgage arrears. Wife produced account