David v. DavidAnnotate this Case
Husband filed a complaint seeking a divorce from Wife. The circuit court granted the divorce and equitably distributed Husband’s and Wife’s property and debt. Husband appealed the equitable distribution award because it classified the increase in value of Husband’s investment/brokerage account as marital property, despite the fact that Husband owned the account before the marriage and both Husband and Wife agreed the account was separate property. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Wife, the non-owning spouse, had the burden of proving that the substantial appreciation in the value of the account was proximately caused by Husband’s significant personal efforts during the marriage and was therefore marital property, and that Wife failed to carry her burden. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred in determining that the non-owning spouse has the initial burden of proving that significant personal efforts or marital contribution caused a substantial increase in the value of separate property. Remanded.