IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF YOUNG B. HUH AND VERONICA A. HUH Upon the Petition of YOUNG B. HUH, Petitioner-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, And Concerning VERONICA A. HUH, Respondent-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Paul L. Macek,
parties appeal the economic provisions of the decree
dissolving their marriage. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.
D. McKenrick of Cartee & McKenrick, P.C., Davenport, for
B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, P.C.,
West Des Moines, for appellee/cross-appellant.
by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
appeal concerns the economic terms of the decree dissolving
the marriage of Young and Veronica Huh, whose marital estate
exceeds $7 million.Young appeals the district court's
valuation of two properties; the provisions for spousal,
child, and medical support; and the requirement he maintain
life insurance for Veronica. In her cross-appeal, Veronica
seeks to increase the support ordered and asserts the court
should have granted relief on her claim Young dissipated
assets. We amend the decree to incorporate the parties'
agreed-upon modifications, reduce Young's life-insurance
obligation, and affirm in all other aspects.
Background Facts and Prior Proceedings
parties met when Young was a gastroenterology fellow at the
University of Pittsburgh and Veronica was working as a
full-time pharmacist in New York. After they married in 1994,
Veronica worked part time as a pharmacist in Pittsburgh. When
their oldest child, C.H., was born in 1995, the parties
agreed Veronica would stay home as a full-time mother and
homemaker; she has not been employed since then. The parties
also have two younger children, H.H. and E.H.
completed his fellowship in 1996; thereafter, the parties
moved for Young's employment-two years in New Jersey,
followed by three years in Rockford, Illinois. In September
2001, the family moved to the Quad Cities, and Young entered
into his present medical practice.
moving to Iowa, the family discovered C.H. had special needs;
although he was two years ahead of his peers academically, he
had difficulty with social interactions. Veronica researched
supportive educational programs and discovered a school in
Reno, Nevada. The family agreed C.H. would complete high
school in Reno. The original plan for Veronica's parents
to live with C.H. in Nevada became impractical due to their
health issues. Instead, Veronica started a household in
Nevada, and all three children moved with her. The
parties' next oldest child, H.H., is also academically
gifted but has faced mental-health issues. The youngest
child, E.H., does not have special needs and will reach the
age of majority in six years.
and the children returned to Iowa for school breaks and
summer vacations. During the school year, Young would fly to
Nevada, usually every weekend he was not on call. After C.H.
graduated from high school in May 2014, Veronica and the
children returned to Iowa, planning to remain here. But in
June 2014, when Young told Veronica he wanted a divorce, she
and the children returned to Nevada. At the time of the June
2015 dissolution trial, the parties were both in their early
fifties. The children were ages eighteen, sixteen, and
twelve; C.H. was entering his sophomore year in college. The
parties stipulated to the value of their debt-free
homes-$323, 881 (Iowa) and $268, 502 (Nevada). The court
entered its decree on September 24, 2015. Both parties
appeal. We review their claims de novo. See Iowa R.
App. P. 6.907.
Division of Property
parties accumulated a sizable marital estate and stipulated
to the value and distribution of some assets. The district
court valued the other assets and awarded property valued at
more than $3, 700, 000 to Veronica and at more than $3, 500,
000 to Young. Although cognizant of the difference in
Veronica's favor, the court declined to order an
equalization payment, reasoning: "Young will continue to
automatically build equity in Gastro Real Estate, L.L.C. at
the rate of over $80, 000 per year. In about two years,
Young's side of the ledger will easily equal
Veronica's and then surpass it."
parties have agreed to modifications on appeal. When we add those
changes, worth approximately $113, 000, to Young's award,
he receives more than $3, 600, 000 in marital property. Young
does not seek an equalization payment on appeal, instead
challenging Veronica's need for spousal support. We turn
to Young's valuation challenges.
Real Estate L.L.C-Hartford, Connecticut.
the marriage, the parties bought commercial rental properties
and held them in limited liability companies with ownership
split equally. Because Veronica managed the properties, Young
did not know the intricacies of the rentals. In 2006, the
parties purchased their Connecticut property for $418, 000.
At the time of trial the property was leased to two tenants,
but the lower level had been vacant in the past. Young did
not know how long the new tenant had been renting and
acknowledged Veronica would know more about the specific
expert testimony was provided on valuation. Young testified
the current value was $545, 400-a 3% annual increase over the
ownership period. Veronica believed the property was worth
between $418, 000 and $450, 000. She explained the rental
history, issues with delinquent rent, the fluctuating values
of commercial real estate in that area, and why she believed
the appropriate value remained at the purchase price. In
valuing the property at $418, 000, the district court noted,
"Veronica managed the property and is more familiar with
its fair market value." The court believed Young's
opinion as to a percentage increase was "mere conjecture
appeal, Young asks us to increase the value of this property.
Young's own testimony established Veronica was more
knowledgeable about the real estate. We accept the district
court's valuation, which is within the range of the
credible evidence. See In re Marriage of Decker, 666
N.W.2d 175, 180 (Iowa Ct. App. 2003) (deferring to district
court when valuations were accompanied by "supporting
credibility findings or corroborating evidence.").
invested in various mineral interests. On appeal, he
challenges the district court's valuation of FSH
Midstream, L.L.C. at $202, 500, twice Young's original
investment. Relying on evidence presented by Young, the court
adopted the valuations made by manager Troy W. Eckard for all
five mineral investments. According to Eckard, Young owns a
"limited and indirect ownership of a LLC Unit" and
Midstream "is successfully making income and performing
as expected." Eckard explained Midstream made a
distribution each year that covered Young's tax
liabilities for this investment.
complains the district court did not apply the 25% to 35%
marketability discount Eckard said "may" apply, and
Young seeks a reduction in the property's value by
applying the discount. We note Eckard also clarified he could
provide a better estimate of the asset's value in the
future. The district court's valuation was
within the range of the evidence; we affirm. See id.
asserts Young's cash withdrawals ($126, 000), stock sales
resulting in losses ($17, 274), and costs relating to his
newly leased Porsche ($32, 182) constitute dissipation of
assets. She claims Young's actions "established
[his] intent to hide, deplete, and/or divert marital
making a property distribution, "it is proper for the
court to consider a person's dissipation of assets."
In re Marriage of Olson, 705 N.W.2d 312, 317 (Iowa
2005). We consider "whether the alleged purpose of the
expenditure is supported by the evidence, and if so . . .
whether that purpose amounts to dissipation under the
circumstances." See In re Marriage of Fennelly,
737 N.W.2d 97, 104 (Iowa 2007) (citation omitted). The court
found Young's actions were more for "control"
as opposed to dissipation. Noting Young's attorney fees
"approach $300, 000, " the court found any
"dissipation" was caused by "the tenacity of
the parties in litigating this matter" and concluded
Young did not dissipate assets. We evaluate each of
Veronica's claims in turn.
the parties separated, Young made a series of cash
withdrawals over six weeks, all in the amount of $9000,
totaling $126, 000. The district court found Young's
pattern of withdrawals "in amounts just below the
federal reporting requirement for cash transactions strongly
suggests a motive to, at a minimum, hide this asset or to
give a colorable and untraceable argument that some of the
money simply evaporated in the form of living expenses."
The court also found while Young paid his Iowa attorneys $27,
000 in cash, it was "highly skeptical" Young spent
the remainder of the cash on unspecified "living
expenses, " even though Young claimed only $75, 000
remained. Finding Young had accounted for only $27, 000 of
the withdrawals, the court deducted that amount from $126,
000 and credited Young with $99, 000 in cash. Because the
district court awarded the unaccounted-for cash to Young in
its distribution of property, we find no need to further
modify the division of assets.
address Young's sale of equities. On August 7, 2014,
Young sold five equity positions in the parties' joint
brokerage for more than $173, 000, transferring the proceeds
into an account in his name, resulting in a loss of $17, 274
to the parties. Like the district court, we conclude
"the stock losses were attributable to market forces as
opposed to an intentional waste of assets."
we consider Veronica's claim Young's lease of a
Porsche constitutes dissipation of $32, 000. Young's
employer deducted that expense from his distributions. One of
the factors in identifying dissipation is whether an outlay
by one spouse was atypical of the expenditures made by the
parties before the breakdown of the marriage. See In re
Marriage of Kimbro,826 N.W.2d 696, 701 (Iowa 2013).
Assuming without deciding that leasing the Porsche
constituted dissipation, we decline to modify the decree on
this ground. Veronica is receiving more assets, and Young is
not requesting an equalization payment. Applying $32, 000 to