JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Cape Girardeau woman who claims a trial court presiding over her divorce case failed to equitably divide marital assets and debts.
In an opinion issued on April 25, the court agreed with Cape Girardeau Circuit Judge Scott Thomsen, who ordered Kathryn Landewee to pay ex-husband John Landewee $196,496.50 in order to equalize their property settlement awards.
According to the ruling, Kathryn also had appealed Thomsen's finding that John's defined benefit pension plan from the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement Benefit Plan (LAGERS) had no present value.
Although Thomsen granted Kathryn half of John’s accrued LAGERS’ benefit of $1,374 per month before taxes to be paid upon retirement, he found that it could not be divided at present by a domestic relations order.
To Kathryn, Thomsen awarded a family floral business, Knaup Floral, as well as well as real estate, vehicles and the bank account associated with the business, the marital home, her retirement account, two life insurance policies, her personal bank account and the debt on two credit cards.
To John, Thomsen awarded his LAGERS pension, a vehicle, a retirement account, four life insurance policies and his bank account.
The nearly $200,000 order for Kathryn to pay John was in order to equalize the awards, the ruling states.
It also states that Kathryn believed she should have received a larger share of assets because John “committed marital misconduct,” according to the ruling.
“Wife claims she, ‘the spouse with much less in retirement, a victim of domestic assault, with residential custody of the two children, a failing business, and two pieces of property that are akin to albatrosses,’ should not have to pay Husband the equalization share,” the ruling states.
But, the court held that while there was "an episode of domestic violence" that preceded their divorce, "not all marital misconduct mandates a disproportionate division of marital property," the court concluded