Rebecca Hoak (plaintiff) and Bruce Hoak (defendant) were married in 1980. At the time of their marriage, Bruce had completed his first year of medical school. Rebecca had a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and worked for a landscaping company but left that job to make more money in another job unrelated to her degree. Bruce continued in medical school, and Rebecca provided the main financial support for the family for the first few years of the marriage. Bruce graduated from medical school in 1983 and filed for divorce in 1984. The divorce decree provided that Bruce was to pay child support and pay Rebecca rehabilitative alimony but for two years only. Rebecca appealed the decree, alleging that Bruce’s medical degree should be considered marital property subject to equitable distribution.