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In re Marriage of Jackson

Supreme Court of Montana

April 4, 2017

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF: GREGORY A. JACKSON, Petitioner and Appellant,
v.
CATHRYN J. (KIT) JACKSON, Respondent and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: February 8, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DR-09-624 Honorable Ed McLean, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Michael Sol, Terry L. Wolfe, Sol & Wolfe Law Firm, PLLP, Missoula, Montana.

          For Appellee: David B. Cotner, Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind, Missoula, Montana.

          OPINION

          Laurie McKinnon Justice.

         ¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

         ¶2 Gregory Jackson (Greg) appeals the District Court's Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law regarding the distribution of marital property arising from the dissolution of his marriage to Cathryn Jackson (Kit).[1] Greg raises four issues on appeal that we restate as follows:

1. Whether the District Court erred when it divided the marital estate pursuant to § 40-4-202, MCA.
2. Whether the District Court abused its discretion when it rejected the Standing Master's Findings and Conclusions regarding the valuations of businesses included in the marital estate.
3. Whether the District Court erred by including Greg's premarital property in its analysis of the marital estate pursuant to § 40-4-202, MCA.
4. Whether the District Court erred in rejecting joint tax returns as dispositive evidence of ownership percentages in its analysis of the marital estate pursuant to § 40-4-202, MCA.

         ¶3 We affirm the District Court's Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decree of Dissolution.

         ¶4 Greg and Kit married December 31, 1991, in Helena, Montana, when they were 47 and 38, respectively. On the day the dissolution was entered, Kit was 62 and Greg was 71. Kit was in good health, but Greg's had deteriorated somewhat. This was a second marriage for both Greg and Kit and no children came from it. Neither Kit nor Greg had many assets when they married, but neither did they have many debts. Notably, Greg had recently retired from the State of Montana, and so brought his PERS retirement fund into the marriage. After they married, he added Kit to his health insurance policy as she was finishing school at Carroll College and he was working for a company in Washington.

         ¶5 Once she graduated in 1992, Kit worked a variety of jobs in the healthcare field, with varying degrees of success. Her experiences included time as an EMT, cardiac charge nurse, and working in pediatric oncology and in a neo-natal IC U.She also worked in home health and multiple hospice businesses. Meanwhile, from 1990-1995, Greg worked full-time for Ritter Construction. Greg and Kit both earned about $40, 000 per year at this time. In 1995, Kit received a job offer in Utah, a state where Greg had no employment opportunities. Nevertheless, he agreed to move with her and he eventually found work. While he worked there as a ...


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