Grennan v. Grennan (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-010-17, 10 pp) (Lucy Inman, J.) Appealed from New Hanover County District Court (Robin Wicks Robinson, J.) N.C. App. Unpub.
Holding: Active decreases in marital debt – such as those caused by the defendant-husband’s post-separation payments for taxes, homeowners’ association dues and insurance on the parties’ Mariners Cove property – are no longer considered divisible property. The property was awarded to the plaintiff-wife, and it was within the trial court’s discretion to deny the husband credits for the post-separation payments; however, the trial court was then required to consider these payments as a distributional factor. The trial court failed to make findings as to whether or not it did so.
We vacate the equitable distribution order and remand for additional findings.
Further, when the husband began drawing a disability retirement pension, he elected a 50 percent joint and survivor annuity for the wife. The trial court classified this annuity as the wife’s separate property.
The husband argues that the wife’s survivor annuity benefit is derivative of his pension and that the trial court’s classification of the pension as marital property requires the survivor annuity benefit to be similarly classified as marital. We cannot determine whether the trial court’s classification of the survivor benefit as separate property is correct or what the proper classification would be because the trial court failed to make findings to support its classification.
Vacated and remanded.