WEST PALM BEACH — An appeals court has remanded a divorce case involving the value of a property in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Calvin Callwood filed an appeal in the 4th District Court of Appeal in a case involving Toleatha Callwood after a trial court ruled that his net equitable distribution was $86,613, while his wife’s was $86,614. The trial court also said the husband and wife would each get 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their home, which was worth roughly $400,000. The trial court also granted the wife a property in the U.S. Virgin Islands called Estate Peterborg, according to court documents.
The husband argued that the property is worth $565,000 based on a tax assessor’s estimates. He said that it is likely the value would increase after an occupancy permit was issued. The wife said the value of the property was about $500,000 and when the property is occupied, its value could increase to $3 million to $5 million, court records state.
Amid the disagreement on the value, the trial court decided there was no true proof of how much Estate Peterborg was worth. The court used the husband’s estimation and said the property was valued at $565,300 minus $635,000 for liens, putting the property at a value of negative $69,700. The trial court didn’t consider the negative value when it decided on the equitable distribution, court records show.
The husband appealed and said the trial court should not have given the wife the property “without making the findings of fact” based on Section 61.075(1) of the Florida statutes. The appeals court concurred.
The regulation includes 10 things the trial court should take into consideration when it decides how to divvy up equitable distribution of assets and liabilities in divorce cases. One item, specifically stated in this case, “requires the trial court to make specific findings regarding equitable distribution in any contested dissolution where there is no stipulation between the parties.”
The appeals court said the trial court’s ruling was not “supported by factual findings” as the statute mandates. The court also declined to decide whether the findings would favor an equitable distribution.
The trial court’s ruling on the husband’s income was also a part of his appeal. The husband said he made $2,103 monthly working as a dispatcher for a transportation company his girlfriend owned. He said his expenses equaled $4,749 a month, leaving him with a deficit of $2,646 a month. The trial court discovered that outside sources were making up for the deficit and said he “earns or is capable of earning at least $4749 net per month.”
The appeals court agreed with the husband’s claim that the trial court erred in interpreting his monthly income as there is no evidence anyone makes up for the deficit. The appeals court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.