Holen v. Holen

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Holen v. Holen

Case Number
Court Number
Call Date
November 13, 2019
Case Time
1:00 PM
Case Summary

A-19-34, Claire C. Holen v. Erik T. Holen (appellant)

Phelps County, Distirct Court, Judge Terri S. Harder

Attorney for Appellant: Kent A. Schroder (Ross, Schroeder & George, LLC)

Attorneys for Appellee: Jane F. Langan Mach & Alex M. Lierz (Rembolt Ludtke LLP)

Civil Action: Dissolution of Marriage

Action Taken by Trial Court: The Phelps County District Court dissolved the marriage between Claire and Erik. A November 2016 decree, as amended in December, was entered from which both parties appealed and assigned numerous errors, including errors related to property, specifically an option to purchase farmland owned by Erik’s grandmother. On appeal, this court reversed the portion of the decree which awarded the option to purchase solely to Erik (valued by the district court at $1,023,061) and the award of a $283,558 deferred land tax associated with the option to Erik. See Holen v. Holen, No. A-16-1201, 2017 WL 6334153 (Neb. App. Dec. 12, 2017) (selected for posting to court website) (Holen I). In that opinion, this court concluded that the option should have been awarded to both Erik and Claire. As a result, this court also reversed a Dakota MAC debt associated with the option, which had also been assigned solely to Erik. The matter was remanded back to the district court with directions to award the option to purchase to both parties and to reconfigure the final division of marital assets, liabilities, and equalization. In particular, the district court was to consider and determine: (1) the amount of the marital portion of the Dakota MAC debt to be included in the final division of assets and liabilities; whether it should be the balance of the debt as of a September 2014 refinancing ($352,776.11) or the balance at the time of the marital equalization date ($504,929); (2) whether the marital portion of the Dakota MAC debt should remain allocated solely to Erik or whether it should be allocated between the parties to eliminate an equalization payout by either party; and (3) whether an equalization payment was necessary under the circumstances of the case.

          On remand, the district court determined the marital portion of the Dakota MAC debt was $352,776 (the balance of the debt as of a September 2014 refinancing agreement), rather than $504,929 (the balance on the marital equalization date of December 31, 2014). The district court then allocated the $352,776 “between the parties in a proportion which does not require an equalization judgment between the parties.”

          Additionally, following this court’s opinion in Holen I, Claire sought to have Erik held in contempt for violating a January 2016 anti-hypothecation order (as it related to preserving the parties’ interests in the pending lease/option to purchase). However, the district court found that Erik’s conduct did not rise to the level of contempt.   

Assignments of Error on Appeal:   Erik assigns that (1) the district court abused its discretion in adopting an alternate valuation date for the Dakota MAC debt pursuant to the opinion of the Nebraska Court of Appeals, (2) the Nebraska Court of Appeals abused its discretion in finding that the Dakota MAC debt should be determined as of the September 2014 refinancing rather than the trial court ordered valuation date of December 31, 2014, (3) the Nebraska Court of Appeals failed to note that the date of valuation for assets and liabilities was not raised on appeal by either party and therefore the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to alter the same, and (4) the district court abused its discretion in finding that $152,152.89 of the $504,929 Dakota MAC debt was a nonmarital debt.

On cross-appeal, Claire assigns that the district court abused its discretion when it failed to find Erik in contempt for violating the January 2016 anti-hypothecation order, and thus the district court also abused its discretion in failing to award her damages or sanctions, and attorney fees.

Case Location
Court Type
District Court
Schedule Code
Panel Text
Moore, Chief Judge, Bishop, and Arterburn, Judges