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Marriage of Harrington

Court of Appeal of California
6 Cal. App. 4th 1847 (1992)


Facts

Judith Harrington (plaintiff) filed a petition for dissolution of marriage from Ronald Harrington (defendant). During the marital dissolution, the Harringtons sold the family residence. The sale yielded a profit of $480,000. Judith and Ronald divided the profits equally. Within two years of the sale of the family residence, Ronald purchased another home for $251,520. Due to this purchase, Ronald postponed the capital-gains tax on the profit Ronald made from the sale of the Harrington family residence. Within two years of the sale of the family home, Judith purchased a condominium for $120,000 and invested $5,000 in improvements to it. Judith postponed the capital-gains tax on the $120,000 used to purchase a replacement home. Judith’s tax liability for the remaining $115,000 profit became due, and Judith incurred a $52,000 capital-gains tax. Judith sought a court order requiring Ronald to pay half of the $52,000 capital-gains tax. There was conflicting evidence during the marital-dissolution proceeding regarding whether Judith and Ronald agreed to split the tax liabilities equally. The trial court found that the parties had an agreement to split the tax liabilities equally. Furthermore, the trial court held that even if there were no agreement, the parties should bear the tax burdens equally. Judith appealed the trial court’s ruling.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gilbert, J.)

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