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In Re Marriage of Geraci

Case law:In re Marriage of Geraci - filed November 20, 2006, Second District, Div. Seven--Read case here

Where husband acquired residence as his separate property and later razed the structure and rebuilt the residence completely prior to marriage, and where parties refinanced or took out home equity loans on several occasions during the course of the marriage, but husband did not present any evidence as to how the rebuild was financed or of how much equity he had in the property at time of marriage, trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that parties’ pretrial settlement regarding the division of the house's sales proceeds was the best evidence of each side's respective interest. Trial court erred in treating business began by husband during marriage--and continued by him after separation--as a general partnership between husband and wife, thereby entitling wife to half of the profits earned post-separation, where it was undisputed that business was operated solely by husband and had no capital assets, and that wife had no involvement beyond fact that husband listed her on the fictitious business name statement. Monetary sanctions for breach of fiduciary duties must be reconsidered where predicated on erroneous ruling that parties were partners in husband's business. Award of spousal support to wife was an abuse of discretion where trial court generally cited statutory factors but failed to explain how evidence related to each factor and how each factor was weighed in reaching amount, and where trial court apparently failed to take into consideration wife's special skills and fact that she was cohabitating, which presumptively reduced her need for support


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