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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Man’s Loose Spending Costs Him Divorce Appeal

(CN) - The North Dakota Supreme Court rejected a divorced man's challenge to an order splitting his marital assets equally, because he had spent more than $1 million on gifts, taxes, coins, a 1,000-ounce brick of silver, a log cabin, bad investments and travel.

Larry Ulsaker and C. True Bright White filed for divorce in 2003, after being married 15 years.

White wasn't happy with how the district court distributed their assets after the first trial, so she appealed.

But between the trial in 2004 and the retrial three years later, Ulsaker spent more than $1.7 million. His primary account contained just $828,696, a sharp reduction from the nearly $2.6 million in 2004.

After the second trial, the district court set the total marital assets at $5.8 million and split the money and property down the middle. This time, Ulsaker appealed.

"At the retrial, Ulsaker acknowledged spending a significant amount of money, but denied intentionally dissipating marital property," Justice Crothers wrote. "The record reflects Ulsaker was unable to explain where the approximately $1 million went, but the evidence shows that he (a) gifted about $197,000 to each of his children, (b) paid taxes, (c) purchased coins, (d) bought a thousand-ounce brick of silver, (e) made some bad investments, (f) built a new log cabin on the ranch and (g) traveled to New Zealand, Russia, Canada and California."

The court upheld the lower court's division of property, finding that "Ulsaker's dissipation of marital assets favor an equal division of the marital estate."

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