SARAH JANE GILLETT and ANNE ELIZABETH RICHMOND, Petitioners/Appellants,
DEBORAH B. MCKINNEY, Respondent/Appellee.
Mandate Issued: 05/01/2019
FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA
HONORABLE MARTHA OAKES, TRIAL JUDGE
A. Kirk, Amber M. Brock, KIRK & CHANEY PLLC, Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma, for Petitioner/Appellant
Charles O. Schem, HESTER SCHEM HESTER & DEASON, Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma, for Respondent/Appellee
F. FISCHER, JUDGE.
Kenneth N. McKinney,  appeals the district court's order
in this divorce action denying his request for credit for all
of the 2014 and 2015 federal income tax credits and
overpayments. Based on our review of the record, the district
court's order in favor of Deborah B. McKinney is not
against the clear weight of evidence and is affirmed.
The parties were married in 1998. They separated on October
3, 2015, and the petition for divorce was filed on October
20, 2015. The parties resolved the majority of their issues
through mediation. They did not resolve who was to receive
credit for the excess taxes paid in conjunction with their
2014 income tax returns or the excess in estimated taxes paid
for their 2015 income tax liability. The district court held
a hearing to resolve those issues. The district court found
that husband's deposit of his separate funds into the
parties' joint accounts "took away the separate
identity and character" of those funds. The court also
found that any of husband's separate funds used to pay
the parties' income taxes had been commingled with their
marital funds. According to the district court, wife's
use of one-half of those funds was "fair and
equitable." Based on these findings, the district court
denied husband's request to credit him with all of the
tax credits and overpayments. Husband appeals the district
court's disposition of the 2014 and 2015 tax issues.
In an action for divorce, the division of property "is
one of equitable cognizance and in reviewing a case of
equitable cognizance, the judgment of the trial court will
not be disturbed unless the trial court abused its discretion
or unless the court's finding was clearly against the
weight of the evidence." Hough v. Hough, 2004
OK 45, ¶ 12, 92 P.3d 695 (citing Merritt v.
Merritt, 2003 OK 68, ¶ 7, 73 P.3d 878). "A
trial court's valuation of a marital estate will not be
disturbed unless it is against the clear weight of evidence,
and our cases demonstrate considerable deference to a trial
court's valuation of marital assets in a divorce."
Childers v. Childers, 2016 OK 95, ¶ 12, 382
Husband raises two issues in this appeal. First, he argues
that the district court erred in not awarding him $115, 994
in tax refunds and overpayments as his separate property.
Second, he contends that the district court erred when it did
not order wife to reimburse him for $9, 625 in additional
taxes he had to pay because wife filed a separate, rather
than a joint income tax return for 2015.
Separate Property Issue
The parties filed joint individual income tax returns for the
2014 tax year and received a partial refund for the taxes
paid in conjunction with that return. In addition, during
2015 and prior to the filing of the petition for divorce, the
parties made estimated tax payments for the 2015 tax year.