DONALD G. DURKIN
JOYCE L. DURKIN
Submitted On Briefs: January 17, 2019
E. Prescott, Esq., Prescott Jamieson Murphy Law Group, LLC,
Saco, for appellant Joyce L. Durkin
Benjamin P. Campo, Jr., Esq., Douglas McDaniel & Campo
LLC PA, Westbrook, for appellee Donald G. Durkin
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, AND HUMPHREY, JJ.
Joyce L. Durkin appeals from a judgment of divorce from
Donald G. Durkin entered on Donald's complaint by the
District Court (Biddeford, Foster, J.) and the
court's denial of her motion for amended or clarified
findings and for reconsideration. Joyce asserts that the
trial court erred by concluding that it lacked the authority
to award spousal support from nonmarital assets and by
declining to award nominal spousal support. Although the
court does have the authority to consider a spouse's
nonmarital assets in determining the appropriateness of
spousal support and does have the authority to secure any
such spousal support through a lien on nonmarital real
property, the court's judgment is unclear as to whether
the court believed it had such authority. We vacate and
Donald filed a complaint for divorce in March 2016. The court
held a contested hearing in January 2018 and entered a
judgment of divorce on April 10, 2018. The following facts
are from the court's explicit findings, all of which are
supported by competent evidence in the record. See
Douglas v. Douglas, 2012 ME 67, ¶ 26, 43 A.3d 965.
Donald and Joyce Durkin were married in August 1980. At the
time, Donald was self-employed as a building contractor. In
1985, Donald constructed a two-family home in Buxton on
property owned by his parents for him, Joyce, and his parents
to reside in. Donald personally provided almost all of the
labor. Donald also constructed a beauty salon attached to the
home to be operated by Joyce, who had recently graduated from
In 1991, Joyce gave birth to the parties' son. Following
the son's birth, Joyce began to work less at her beauty
salon, which resulted in the business being less profitable.
Later, in 2003, Donald's parents deeded him the Buxton
property solely in his name. Donald and Joyce jointly
acquired a small adjacent parcel of land for $10, 000, funded
through a home equity line of credit of $75, 000 that was
secured by the Buxton property Donald had received from his
parents. Donald and Joyce used the remainder of the line of
credit to pay off various debts. At the time of the divorce,
Donald and Joyce owed $75, 000 on the line of credit.
Due to multiple physical disabilities, Donald closed his
contracting business in 2015 and began working as a driver
for local car dealerships. For a period of time, Joyce worked
in various other part-time positions until she suffered a
Based on these findings, the court set aside the Buxton
property to Donald as his nonmarital property. The court also
awarded Donald the adjacent parcel of land, finding that it
had no value independent of the larger property. Further, at
Donald's request, the court ordered that he was
responsible for almost all of the parties' joint debt.
Joyce requested that the court enter a lump sum spousal
support order secured by Donald's nonmarital property.
The court denied this request, stating:
What skews the picture in this matter is the award of the
residence to Mr. Durkin. The equity in that property is
substantial- $320, 000. On its face, the argument by Mrs.
Durkin's counsel that the equity in the property presents
an opportunity for a lump sum payment of alimony seems fair
and feasible. But it overlooks one crucial fact-the property
is [nonmarital]. The [c]ourt cannot force a sale ...