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Matter of the Dissolution of the Marriage of Vetter

Oregon Court of Appeals
Mar 11, 1974
520 P.2d 364 (Or. Ct. App. 1974)


Argued February 25, affirmed March 11, 1974

Appeal from Circuit Court, Benton County.


Gary E. Norman, Albany, argued the cause for appellant. With him on the brief were Scott Norman, Albany.

Robert G. Ringo, Corvallis, argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Ringo, Walton, McClain Eves, Corvallis.

Before SCHWAB, Chief Judge, and FOLEY and THORNTON, Judges.

AFFIRMED. No costs to either party.

In this suit for dissolution of marriage, the respondent wife appeals from those provisions of the decree which divided the assets of the parties and awarded attorney's fees.

The parties were married in 1965. There are no children. In 1967 the parties recovered $21,532 in settlement from a lawsuit arising out of a motorcycle accident in which both husband and wife were injured. The proceeds of this recovery were invested in various assets, including a home and the husband's business. The trial court's decree undertook to divide the assets equally.

Respondent wife argues that the residence should have been awarded to her, rather than to both as tenants in common, because the initial investment in this home came from the above settlement. She argues that this settlement was wholly for her injuries and was therefore not a joint asset of the parties. From our examination of the record, however, we can find no evidence to support this claim. So far as the record is concerned, the amount received by the parties was a lump-sum settlement without any apportionment or breakdown.

In decreeing a dissolution of marriage, the trial court has the power to decree:

"(e) For the division or other disposition between the parties of the real or personal property, or both, of either or both of the parties as may be just and proper in all the circumstances." ORS 107.105 (1) (e). (Emphasis supplied.)

As our Supreme Court observed in Barone v. Barone, 207 Or. 26, 31, 294 P.2d 609 (1956),

"* * * the fact, if it be such, that by the decree the court granted to the plaintiff property of the defendant did not constitute action in excess of the authority reposed in the court * * *."

Thus the court is vested with a broad discretion in making its distribution of the assets. Sharp v. Sharp, 12 Or. App. 421, 424, 507 P.2d 417 (1973); accord, Johnson v. Johnson, 245 Or. 10, 15, 419 P.2d 28 (1966) (construing former ORS 107.100 (4)). Conflicts as to who contributed what are best resolved by the trial court, which had the opportunity to hear the testimony and to observe the witnesses. Sharp v. Sharp, supra at 425. Furthermore, the amount of contribution to the acquisition of assets is but one of many considerations in the division of property and is not determinative. Johnson v. Johnson, supra at 15, 16.

Our de novo review of the record reveals that there was cogent evidence to support the trial judge's decision. Schunk and Schunk, 14 Or. App. 74, 511 P.2d 1240 (1973); see also, Hansen v. Hansen, 7 Or. App. 44, 489 P.2d 970 (1971).

As to the wife's contention regarding attorney fees, the trial court awarded the wife $300 attorney's fees, which she argues was an inadequate award. Neither party alleged, offered evidence concerning, nor argued any amount as reasonable attorney's fees. Instead the parties stipulated that the amount of attorney fees was to be left to the trial court's discretion. We find no abuse of that discretion. Bohren v. Bohren, 243 Or. 237, 412 P.2d 524 (1966); Erpelding v. Erpelding, 6 Or. App. 333, 487 P.2d 1406 (1971); cf., Colbath and Colbath, 15 Or. App. 568, 516 P.2d 763 (1973).

Affirmed. No costs to either party.

Summaries of

Matter of the Dissolution of the Marriage of Vetter

Oregon Court of Appeals
Mar 11, 1974
520 P.2d 364 (Or. Ct. App. 1974)
Case details for

Matter of the Dissolution of the Marriage of Vetter

Case Details


Court:Oregon Court of Appeals

Date published: Mar 11, 1974


520 P.2d 364 (Or. Ct. App. 1974)
520 P.2d 364

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