IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF: SANDRA J. BROESDER, Petitioner and Appellee, and DONALD W. BROESDER, Respondent and Appellant.
Submitted on Briefs: August 16, 2017
FROM: District Court of the Eighth Judicial District, In and
For the County of Cascade, Cause No. ADR 12-138 Honorable
Gregory G. Pinski, Presiding Judge
Appellant: Jason T. Holden, Katie R. Ranta, Faure Holden
Attorneys at Law, P.C., Great Falls, Montana Jeffrey S.
Ferguson, Attorney at Law, Great Falls, Montana
Appellee: Antonia P. Marra, Marra, Evenson & Bell, P.C.,
Great Falls, Montana
Donald W. Broesder appeals the Order issued by the Eighth
Judicial District Court, Cascade County, affirming and
adopting the Standing Master's April 13, 2016 Findings of
Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decree of Dissolution, which
dissolved the marriage between Donald and Sandra Broesder. We
reverse and remand, addressing the following restated issue:
the District Court err by failing to consider the tax
consequences of the distribution of the marital estate,
resulting in an inequitable distribution?
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Since 1951, Donald has lived and worked on the Broesder
family ranch, which was homesteaded by Donald's
grandfather in 1911, and then owned by his parents. Donald
and Sandra were married in 1976, and for approximately 35
years they lived and worked on the ranch. Together with their
sons, Seth Broesder and Shane Broesder, and daughter-in-law,
Sarah Broesder, Donald and Sandra own the ranch in a small
corporation with restrictions upon the sale of stock.
During the marriage, Donald worked exclusively on the ranch,
while Sandra worked both on the ranch and elsewhere,
including serving as a Pondera County Commissioner.
Sandra's non-ranch income was used for personal expenses,
as well as for ranch and family expenses. Seth, Sarah, and
Shane have also worked on the ranch. Ranch shares were given
to Donald and Sandra to compensate them for their work on the
ranch, and for property and assets, which they transferred to
the ranch corporation when it was originally incorporated.
Shares of the ranch corporation are held as follows:
The parties agree the ranch is the significant marital asset,
and the land is the significant ranch asset. The total value
of the ranch is approximately $3.1 million, with the land
valued at approximately $2.3 million. Donald and Sandra both
have minimal personal assets. As counsel for Sandra stated,
at the hearing before the District Court, the land is
"really the majority asset of the corporation. And, in
fact, that was the reason the other shareholders sought to
Seth and Sarah moved to intervene in the matter, arguing that
intervention was necessary to protect their interests in the
ranch. The Standing Master denied the motion for
intervention, reasoning "[t]he notion that an equitable
division in this matter cannot be achieved without compelling
the sale of assets is speculative."
During the proceedings, Donald suggested Sandra keep her
ranch shares as her portion of the marital estate, but Sandra
offered it would be necessary, in that event, for her to be
given "some sort of control" over ranch decisions,
as well as receiving reimbursement for living costs the ranch
had provided during the marriage. Regarding possible sale
between them, Donald suggested using the book value of $10.25
per share set, in 2003, by the shareholders pursuant to their
stock agreement as ...