Appeal from Superior Court of Skagit County. Docket No: 92-3-00114-1. Date filed: 11/10/94. Judge signing: Hon. Michael E. Rickert.
Authored by Walter E. Webster. Concurring: Faye C. Kennedy, Ann L. Ellington.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Webster
WEBSTER, J. -- James Hayton appeals the trial court's award of the parties' home, referred to as the "Big Lake" house, to his former wife in their dissolution. Because the court's property distribution was fair and equitable, we affirm.
At the beginning of the parties' relationship, the wife owned a condominium in Seattle, which she rented out when she moved in with the husband. The husband owned the "Big Lake" house as well as the "Day Creek" property. The Day Creek property includes the husband's shop for his airplane repair business, storage for vast quantities of airplane parts, and a home.
When the wife first moved in with the husband, they lived in his Big Lake home. During this time, they repaired and remodeled the home. The community paid off a $10,000 loan for the down payment of the property and purchased an adjoining lot, which is now a part of the Big Lake property and valued at $20,000. Several months after the marriage, they moved into the house at the Day Creek property. They moved back into the Big Lake home in 1990 and lived there until their separation in January 1992.
Thereafter, the husband lived at the Day Creek property, and the wife resided at the Big Lake home with the couple's two children.
The trial court determined that the parties' separate and community property had a gross value greater than $1,500,000 and that the net value of the community property and community interest in separate property was approximately $630,000. The court further determined that both the Big Lake and Day Creek properties were the husband's separate property, but that the community had a $44,000 interest in the Big Lake property and an $88,000 interest in the Day Creek property.
The court awarded the husband the Day Creek property, a DeHavilland Beaver float plane valued at $191,000, airplane parts valued at $360,000, 80 acres of timber, and $50,000 of his proceeds from a personal injury settlement. The wife received the Big Lake house, her Seattle condominium, her 401(k) valued at $47,500, a lot in Bellingham worth $20,000, a time share vacation contract with a net value of $2,000, $25,000 from the husband's personal injury award, and $50,000 worth of airplane parts.
Overall, the husband received property worth substantially more than the wife received.
The trial court gave four reasons why it was fair and equitable to award the Big Lake house to the wife even though it was originally the husband's separate property:
1) It is her current home and the home in which the children live;
2) There is a significant community property interest in the Big Lake property; and
3) The vast majority of the community property assets in this case are airplanes, airplane parts and a community interest in the Day Creek property all of which are directly related to Husband's ...