The Supreme Court determined that the husband’s 49% interest in the family business, Gabriel Contractors was not marital property. Despite having been gifted this interest between the years of 1988 through 1990 (the parties were married in August 1988), the Court determined that the interest was a gift from the husband’s father and only awarded the wife $173,186 for the appreciation of the company’s value during the marriage. This determination was supported by testimony and evidence which the Appellate Court also deemed sufficient and that the awarding of the appreciation of the company’s value was equitable.
Additionally, the Court had awarded the husband 15% of the wife’s enhanced earnings capacity as a lawyer and 15% of her law practice which husband considered too low. While there is conflicting testimony regarding the extent of the husband’s involvement in matters that contributed to the wife’s law degree and subsequent starting of a law practice (the parties were married during the wife’s entire third year of law school and the practice was started during the marriage). In light of the conflicting testimony, the Appellate Court determined that the Supreme Court’s 15% award for the enhanced earnings capacity and the law practice was well within its discretion.