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Millay v. McKay

Supreme Court of Maine

March 7, 2017

LAURA A. MILLAY
v.
JOHN E. MCKAY JR.

          Submitted On Briefs: January 19, 2017

          Martha J. Harris, Esq., Paine, Lynch & Harris, PA, Bangor, for appellant Laura A. Millay.

          Peter B. Bickerman, Esq., Lipman & Katz, PA, Augusta, for appellee John E. McKay, Jr.

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         [¶1] Laura A. Millay and John "Jack" E. McKay Jr. were married on November 18, 2006, and have two young children. A few days before the marriage, when Millay was pregnant with their first child, McKay presented Millay with a prenuptial agreement, which she signed without benefit of counsel.

         [¶2] McKay entered the marriage with substantial financial assets, including revocable and irrevocable trusts worth over $1, 000, 000 and two properties located on Ohio Street in Bangor. Before their marriage, the couple purchased, as joint tenants, property on Verona Island. McKay spent over $400, 000 of his nonmarital assets to support the relationship and the marriage, including the purchase of property on Verona Island, contributions to Millay's education, and renovations to the Ohio Street and Verona Island properties. Despite the property improvements, all the properties' values decreased significantly during the marriage due to market forces.

         [¶3] After six years of marriage, Millay and McKay separated in April 2013. McKay then conveyed his interest in the Verona Island property to Millay. She filed for divorce on September 13, 2013, in the District Court (Bangor) on the ground of irreconcilable differences. See 19-A M.R.S. §902(1)(H)(2016).

         [¶4] After a two-day trial, by judgment dated January 21, 2016, supported by extensive findings, the court (Jordan, J.) set aside the parties' nonmarital property; divided their joint assets and debts; ordered McKay to pay Millay child support, retroactive to February 2015; declined to award spousal support other than as part of property division; denied Millay's request for attorney fees; and incorporated into the judgment the parties' agreement regarding parental rights and responsibilities.

         [¶5] In its judgment, the court recognized the existence of the prenuptial agreement, noted the infirmities in its formation, indicated that its decisions regarding property division and spousal support were made based on the laws and general principles courts apply in dividing marital property and determining spousal support, and stated that "an analysis independent of the prenuptial agreement renders the issues as to its enforceability irrelevant." Addressing allocation of the Verona Island property to Millay, the court suggested that its award to Millay may have been less favorable to her, but for provisions in the prenuptial agreement.

         [¶6] Millay filed several post-judgment motions pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 52(b), 59(a), (b), and (e); and 60(b)(6). She now appeals from the court's property division, spousal support, and attorney fee determinations, from some evidentiary rulings, and from the denial of her post-judgment motions. See 14 M.R.S. § 1901 (2016); 19-A M.R.S. §104 (2016), M.R. App. 2.

         I. LEGAL ANALYSIS

         [¶7] Millay's challenges focus on the division of marital property and the denial of spousal support and attorney fees. Regarding these issues, the court findings, supported by the record, indicate that (1) McKay had contributed to the marriage approximately $400, 000 of his nonmarital assets; (2) he had made payments to support Millay completing her college education during the marriage; (3) Millay left the marriage with a valuable asset, the Verona Island real estate, which she did not have prior to the marriage; and (4) the parties had similar incomes or earning capacity.

         [¶8] When a party to a domestic relations appeal "asserts that the trial court's findings are not supported by evidence in the record, we review the record, and reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the record, in the light most favorable to the trial court's judgment to determine if the findings are supportable by competent evidence." Sloan v. Chhstianson,2012 ME 72, ¶ 2, 43 A.3d 978. See also Buck v. Buck,2015 ME 33, ¶ 5, 113 ...


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