Home / Uncategorized / BREKENRIDGE v BREKENRIDGE






JUNE 8, 1999

Record No. 2198-98-4





John W. Scott, Jr., Judge

Present: Judges Benton, Coleman and Willis


(Nicholas A. Pappas, on briefs), for appellant.

(William G. Dade, on brief), for appellee.

Nancy Breckenridge appeals the equitable
distribution award of the circuit court. She contends that the
trial court erred in (1) its classification of certain items of
personal property; (2) its valuation of certain items of marital
property; and (3) its division of the equity in the marital
residence and the retirement benefits of her husband, Charles T.
Breckenridge. Upon reviewing the record and briefs of the
parties, we conclude that this appeal is without merit.
Accordingly, we summarily affirm the decision of the trial court.
See Rule 5A:27.

"Fashioning an equitable distribution
award lies within the sound discretion of the trial judge and
that award will not be set aside unless it is plainly wrong or
without evidence to support it." Srinivasan v. Srinivasan,
10 Va. App. 728, 732, 396 S.E.2d 675, 678 (1990). "Unless it
appears from the record that the trial judge has not considered
or has misapplied one of the statutory mandates, this Court will
not reverse on appeal." Ellington v. Ellington, 8 Va.
App. 48, 56, 378 S.E.2d 626, 630 (1989).
Classification of Property
The wife contends that the trial court erred by classifying
three guns as husband’s separate property while classifying a van
she received from her family as marital property. We find no
Husband acquired two guns during the marriage. The trial court’s
memorandum opinion demonstrates that it considered some portion
of husband’s gun collection to be marital property because it was
acquired during the marriage. The court then awarded the entire
collection to husband. We find no error in the trial court’s
classification of the gun collection.
Wife challenges the trial court’s classification of the 1995
van as a marital asset. We find no indication that wife raised
this objection before the trial court. It is not included in
either the motion for reconsideration or the noted exceptions to
the trial court’s final decree. In the reply brief, wife
asserts that she raised this argument in detail in a trial
memorandum filed with the court. Wife also asserts that the
memorandum was part of the record in this case. Our review of the
record before us discloses no trial memorandum in which wife set
out this objection. We also note that wife did not cite the
memorandum when indicating where the question presented had been
preserved. See Rule 5A:20(c). As neither the motion for
reconsideration nor the exceptions to the final decree contain
this objection, we find that, in the record before us, it was not
preserved for appeal. Therefore, we will not consider this
contention. See Rule 5A:18.
Valuation of Marital Property
The wife also contends that the trial court erred when it
valued husband’s gun collection at $0 and accepted husband’s
value for the parties’ personal property. Although the wife
argued before the trial court that the gun valuation was
erroneous, counsel conceded that no evidence as to value was
presented. The trial court expressly noted that it could not
value the collection in the absence of any evidence. In light of
the fact that the parties failed to present evidence from which
the court could calculate a value for the gun collection, we find
no error in the trial court’s decision to give the collection no
The husband presented an exhibit setting out purported values for
items of property held by the parties. The basis for the assigned
value was included in the exhibit as well as described in the
husband’s testimony. The wife gave an undifferentiated estimate
that all items in her possession were worth "maybe, five
thousand dollars." "The burden is on the parties to
provide the trial court sufficient evidence from which it can
value their property." Bosserman v. Bosserman, 9 Va.
App. 1, 5, 384 S.E.2d 104, 107 (1989). We cannot say, based upon
the evidence presented by the parties, that the trial court’s
decision to accept the husband’s valuation evidence was clearly
Division of Marital Property
The wife argues that the trial court erred when it ordered
the payment of $10,000 to the husband’s mother from the proceeds
of the sale of the marital residence as repayment of a loan. The
husband testified that his mother provided the $10,000 down
payment towards the purchase of the marital residence. He
introduced into evidence the deeds of sale and of trust which
indicated that the parties financed only $130,500 of the total
purchase price of $145,000 when they purchased the marital
residence. The wife did not refute the husband’s testimony that
his mother provided funds towards the down payment. While the
husband’s mother testified that she made additional payments to
the parties after the purchase of the home, she also clearly
stated that the payments she made were not gifts. Evidence
supports the trial court’s decision that there was a marital debt
of $10,000 owed to the husband’s mother. The statute authorizes
the trial court to direct the payment of this debt from the
proceeds of the sale of the marital residence. See Code
Sect. 20-107.3(C). Therefore, we find no error.
As noted above, we find no error in the trial court’s decision to
accept the valuation evidence presented by the husband for the
parties’ personal property. The trial court ruled that it would
not award wife an interest in either the husband’s Thrift Savings
Plan account or his FERS benefit, in part due to the disposition
of the personal property and because of the husband’s
"relatively brief period of employment with the Federal
Government." Virginia’s equitable distribution scheme does
not provide "a statutory presumption of equal
distribution." Papuchis v. Papuchis, 2 Va. App. 130,
132, 341 S.E.2d 829, 830 (1986). We find no abuse of discretion
in the trial court’s division of the parties’ property.
Accordingly, the decision of the circuit court is summarily


*Pursuant to Code Sect. 17.1-413,
recodifying Code Sect. 17-116.010, this opinion is not
designated for publication.