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Bradley v. Bradley    

NO. 2022-CA-0960-MR




Date Rendered: September 8, 2023

Issue: Whether the Family Court erred in adopting husband’s tendered order.  

Issue: Whether a 60/40 division of a marital estate was equitable.

After a trial on multiple property issues, the Family Court entered a Decree of Dissolution awarding 60% of the marital assets to Husband and 40% to Wife. The order contained multiple, unclear provisions, including several regarding the division of oil and gas wells. Wife appealed making serval arguments.

First, Wife argued that Family Court erred by adopting Husband’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in violation of CR 52.01. The Court of Appeals notes it is bad practice for a court to accept one party’s tendered order, although it is not forbidden. The Court of Appeals holds that while Wife did not clearly show the decision-making process was not under the control of the Judge, the adopted order was not supported by substantial evidence.

The Court of Appeals then turns to the equitable division of the marital estate holding that the underlying award creates so many unanswered questions the Court of Appeals cannot find sufficient evidence to support the assignment and division of property, noting many issues that were left unresolved or unclear by the Family Court’s order particularly as to the oil and gas wells.

The Court of Appeals goes on to hold that further clarity is necessary as to the denial of Wife’s maintenance claim, the non-marital debt attributed to Husband from his father’s estate, and the allocation of property taxes on Wife’s home. The Court of Appeals ultimately concludes “the Decree of Dissolution was not supported by substantial evidence, and we must remand for a more complete and detailed allocation of marital assets with consideration of the factors in KRS 403.190 and thereafter application of KRS 403.200 to the maintenance determination.”

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell