Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hagood v. Hagood

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

July 17, 2019

Melissa Leaphart Hagood, Appellant,
v.
James Buckner Hagood, Defendant. Melody "Suzie" Hagood Sharpe, Third Party Defendant. Of whom James Buckner Hagood and Melody "Suzie" Hagood Sharpe are the Respondents. Appellate Case No. 2016-001898

          Heard December 4, 2018

          Appeal From Richland County Monét S. Pincus, Family Court Judge

          James Ross Snell, Jr. and Vicki D. Koutsogiannis, both of Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, of Lexington, for Appellant.

          Peter George Currence, of McDougall, Self, Currence & McLeod, LLP, of Columbia, and Carrie Hall Tanner, of Speedy, Tanner, Atkinson & Cook, LLC, of Camden, for Respondents.

          LOCKEMY, C.J.

         In this appeal from a divorce decree, Melissa Hagood (Wife) argues the family court erred in (1) characterizing the majority of the estate as the nonmarital property of James Hagood (Husband), (2) equitably apportioning the majority of the marital property to Husband, and (3) refusing to award her alimony. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

         FACTS

         Wife and Husband married on August 8, 2004, and separated April 17, 2014. At the time of the separation, Wife was fifty years old and Husband was sixty-five years old. The parties share one child (Child), born in 2002. Husband has three grown children from a previous marriage.

         In 1996, before the couple met, Husband inherited several large tracts of land in and around Blythewood, South Carolina, from his father. The properties included the following: a doublewide mobile home located on a one-acre tract of land at 837 Langford Road (837 Langford Road); 142 acres located at 1521 Muller Road (the Muller Road Property); and 159 acres on Langford Road (the Langford Road Property). Each of these properties were titled in Husband's name throughout the marriage, with the exception of the doublewide mobile home titled in his sister's name. When the parties met in 2002, Husband was living in the doublewide mobile home at 837 Langford Road. In December 2002, Wife and Child moved into the mobile home with Husband and lived there until July 2009.

         In 2007, Husband received approximately $3.6 million from the sale of the Langford Road Property. In that same transaction, Husband acquired an additional 8.1 acres on Muller Road, near the Muller Road Property. Soon thereafter, Husband used $495, 000 in proceeds from the sale of the Langford Road Property to construct a new home on the Muller Road Property. The home was completed in the summer of 2009, and the couple lived there continuously until their separation in April 2014.

         The marriage began to deteriorate in the spring of 2014. On April 28, 2014, Wife initiated divorce proceedings against Husband, requesting custody of Child, child support, alimony, equitable division, and other related relief. By administrative order, the family court bifurcated the merits hearing in order to address the financial and custody issues separately. The family court held a hearing on June 15 and 16, 2016, to address the financial issues. At issue was the character, equitable division, and apportionment of: (1) the property and mobile home located at 837 Langford Road; (2) the marital home and Muller Road Property; (3) the additional 8.1 acres on Muller Road; (4) several investment accounts; (5) two collectable vehicles-a green Corvette and a 1969 Camaro; (6) a 2014 Jeep Wrangler; (7) a horse named "Chevy"; and (8) two tractors. In addition, Wife requested alimony of "whatever the [c]ourt deemed necessary," and both parties requested attorney's fees. Neither party requested a specific percentage of the marital estate.

         The family court issued a final order and divorce decree on August 2, 2016, granting Husband and Wife a no-fault divorce based on one year's continuous separation. In its order, the family court denied Wife's request for alimony; held the entirety of the real property and investment accounts were Husband's nonmarital property; and apportioned the horse, the John Deer tractor, the Jeep, and the 1969 Camaro to Husband. This appeal followed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The appellate court reviews decisions of the family court de novo. Lewis v. Lewis, 392 S.C. 381, 386, 709 S.E.2d 650, 652 (2011). The appellate court generally defers to the findings of the family court regarding credibility because the family court is in a better position to observe the witnesses and their demeanor. Id. at 389, 709 S.E.2d at 653. The party contesting the family court's decision bears the burden of demonstrating the family court's factual findings are not supported by the preponderance of the evidence. Barrow v. Barrow, 394 S.C. 603, 609, 716 S.E.2d. 302, 305 (Ct. App. 2011) (citations omitted).

         LAW/ANALYSIS

         I. Marital Property

         Wife argues the family court erred in failing to categorize and apportion as marital property: (1) the mobile home and property located at 837 Langford Road, (2) the marital home and the Muller Road Property (3) the investment and bank accounts, (4) the green Corvette, and (5) the John Deer tractor.

         Section 20-3-630(A) of the South Carolina Code (2014) defines marital property as "all real and personal property which has been acquired by the parties during the marriage and which is owned as of the date of filing or commencement of marital litigation . . . regardless of how legal title is held." Section 20-3-630(A) specifies the following is nonmarital property:

(1) property acquired by either party by inheritance, devise, bequest, or gift from a party ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.