Horton v. HortonAnnotate this Case
Wife Karen Horton was granted a discretionary appeal of her divorce from Husband Christopher Horton. The appeal was granted in order to consider whether the superior court erred in determining as a matter of law that the house titled in Husband’s name was his separate property, and whether it erred in awarding Husband attorney fees under OCGA 9-15-14. The parties were married for approximately 19 months later. They had met on a dating site for older adults. The parties appeared for trial and stipulated: (1) the marriage was irretrievably broken; (2) Wife owned her home in Savannah prior to the marriage; (3) Husband owned the House at issue here prior to the marriage; (4) the mortgage balance on the House was $152,062.81; (5) Wife would retain the benefits from her retirement plan, which she accumulated prior to the marriage; (6) Husband would retain a $985 monthly annuity, which he began receiving prior to the marriage; (7) each party would retain the vehicle and other personal property in his or her possession and be responsible for his or her own health insurance; and (8) there was no marital debt. At some point during the marriage, Husband contemplated filing for bankruptcy, and deeded the house to Wife so that it would not be included in the bankruptcy estate. Wife contended that she spent $15,000 to remodel the House. Among other things, Wife argued that the jury could find that all or part of the House was marital property because Husband deeded it to her and because of the mortgage payments she made during the marriage and the amount she spent on remodeling. The superior court granted Husband’s motion and dismissed the jury. Husband was awarded attorney fees. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment.