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Yon v. Yon

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

November 5, 2019

Denise Johnson Yon, Wife, Appellant,
v.
Terrell Edward Yon, Husband, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Leon County. Kevin J. Carroll, Judge.

          James M. Durant, Jr., B.C.S. of Boyd & Durant, P.L., Tallahassee; and Kristin Adamson, B.C.S., Tallahassee, for Appellant.

          William Ketchersid of Ward & Ketchersid, P.A., Destin; Bryan S. Gowdy and Thomas A. Burns of Creed & Gowdy, P.A., Jacksonville, for Appellee.

          WOLF, J.

         The former wife challenges a final judgment of dissolution of marriage as it relates to equitable distribution. While we commend the trial court for a herculean effort to come up with a fair equitable distribution scheme, especially in light of the dearth of evidence presented by the parties as to certain assets, we still must reverse. Under Florida family law, the trial court erred by applying the wrong cut-off date for determining whether assets were marital or nonmarital. Because this error permeates throughout the final judgment, we reverse and remand for a redetermination in accordance with the statutory dictates and definitions in section 61.075, Florida Statutes. We also address the trial court's treatment of certain specific assets.

         I. General Facts

         On May 30, 2009, the parties were married in Leon County, Florida. No children were born of this marriage; both parties had adult children by prior marriages. Both parties had significant assets prior to the marriage, and both were self-supporting in their respective careers: The former wife was employed as an account manager at Cisco Systems, and the former husband was a retired pharmacist with several business interests. There was no prenuptial agreement and no disclosure of the parties' assets prior to the marriage.

         On September 30, 2013, the parties separated. There was no separation agreement.

         On May 29, 2015, nearly two years after the parties' separation, the former wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. The petition sought an equitable division of "all assets, including real and personal property acquired by the parties" and an equitable division of marital debts and obligations.

         On May 8, 2017, the trial court conducted a hearing on the petition for dissolution, at which the only issues had to do with the distribution of the parties' assets and liabilities. While the former husband asserted that the marital financial matters were essentially a wash, the former wife asserted entitlement to half of the marital estate, including a number of assets determined by the court to be non-marital.

         On May 22, 2017, the court entered Final Judgment.

         II. The Final Judgment

         In the Final Judgment, the court identified the numerous assets of both parties and identified the "premarital/nonmarital" assets to be excluded from equitable distribution, frequently referencing the date of separation as the date for determining whether an asset was nonmarital. The issues in this appeal mainly concern assets determined by the court to be the former husband's non-marital property. The court identified the following six assets as nonmarital assets belonging to the former husband:

1. Terrell E. Yon Revocable Trust;
2. A $250, 000 "Archstone" deposit to the Revocable Trust account;
3. Terry Yon and Associates, Inc, including a $802, 128 check from BP (on a 2010 oil spill claim), which was received in 2012;
4. DocKits company and income derived from sales made by that company;
5. Miramar Beach property; and
6. IRA account with SEI.

         Under the heading "Other Property," the trial court awarded to the former husband a lot in South Walton County (the "Santa Rosa" property), and the "partially completed residence and debt encumbering same." The court found that the lot was purchased and the "partially completed residence" was ...


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