Brief Fact Summary. Appellant and appellee divorced in a relationship in which appellant had accumulated significant assets, including ownership in multiple stocks. The appellant challenged the chancellor’s division of property.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Marital property generally includes all property not acquired prior to marriage, property acquired by inheritance or gift from a third party, or property excluded by valid agreement. Such property must be distributed based on contribution and need.
Eleanor Kantor, appellee and Henry Rosenburg Jr., appellant, married on June 22, 1952. On November 1, 1981, Henry left home with the purpose of ending the marriage. The chancellor for the divorce decree found that appellant had committed adultery many times and appellee had done so once, 2 years after the separation.
Appellee’s family had started American Trading and Production Corporation (ATAPCO), which originally consisted of slightly less than 50% interest in Crown Central Petroleum Corporation (Crown) and 25% in American Oil Company (AOC). A merger of AOC and Standard Oil of Indiana produced large stock holdings of the latter company now owned by ATAPCO, which continued to hold approximately 50% of Crown voting stock. ATAPCO was owned solely by family members.
Crown and ATAPCO prospered throughout the years and appellant’s assets swelled as he became director for most of ATAPCO’s subsidiaries. At the time of divorce, appellant’s net worth was approximately $33 million. The largest of appellant’s assets which experienced the greatest growth was ATAPCO.
Appellee undertook virtually the entire burden of raising the children and maintaining and managing the significant family household at appellant’s request. She also entertained frequently at her husband’s benefit. Appellee’s husband was frequently away from home, and eventually began to pursue other women.
In the 1970’s appellee admitted herself to a hospital for drug treatment. Appellant visited to request a separation agreement. She refused and the experience resulted in further hospitalization.
In 1983 appellee filed a Bill of Complaint for Divorce A Vinculo Matrimonii, alleging adultery, abandonment and desertion as grounds for divorce. Appellant filed and answer and cross-bill relying on a two-year separation of the parties as grounds for the divorce. The chancellor granted a divorce and determined that the husband had given the wife all her jewelry and her interest in the marital residence as gifts. He ordered the parties to sell the home; the husband to pay the wife a monetary award of $1,520,000, plus any difference between $230,000 and the wife’s share of the proceeds from the sale of the house; the husband to pay the wife alimony in the amount of $275,000 per year, to cease upon her remarriage or the death of either party; and husband to pay the wife’s attorney’s fees. He appealed, challenging the monetary award, alimony award, counsel fees, and expenses. Appellee cross-appealed, challenging the failure to classify as marital property the increases in value of
her husband’s ATPCO stock.
Issue. Did the chancellor correctly value and distribute the marital property of the parties?