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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Frank Garcia, a husband, appealed from the trial court’s division of property incident to his divorce from his wife, Christine Garcia. In the couple’s divorce, the wife was represented by counsel, while the husband appeared pro se. After the bench trial was conducted, the husband timely filed a handwritten notice of appeal. However, it did not appear from the record that a hearing was either requested or conducted. The final decree awarded the marital home to the husband and required him to pay the wife $10,000 “for her reimbursement claim in the real property awarded in this divorce decree to [him].” HOLDING:Affirmed. In his sole issue for review, the husband challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the reimbursement award. He also contends the error resulted in an abuse of discretion because it led to a grossly disproportionate division of the community estate. The court notes that, in reviewing the equitable remedy fashioned by the trial court in achieving a just and right division, it must determine not only whether the trial court’s findings are supported by the evidence, but must also determine whether error, if established, caused the trial court to abuse its discretion. In sum, the court states that it must determine whether the trial court’s decision was either arbitrary or unreasonable. In the divorce action, the wife pleaded for both common law reimbursement and economic contribution. While the record does not reveal the precise theory upon which the $10,000 award was based, the court infers from the testimony how the number was derived: $3,000 refers to her contribution, from her personal funds, to the down payment on the couple’s house and $7,000 refers to her contribution, also from her personal funds, toward its improvements. The court notes that the husband has not disputed at trial or on appeal that the wife paid the down payment on their house from her separate funds. He explains in his brief that he also contributed separate property, but he did not plead it and he did not trace it. Because the wife’s testimony supports the common law reimbursement claim, the court finds the evidence sufficient to support an award of $3,000. As to the wife’s economic contribution claim, the court notes that a marital estate that makes an economic contribution to property owned by another marital estate has a claim for economic contribution with respect to the benefited estate under Texas Family Code �3.403(a). The wife testified that she spent $7,000 of her retirement funds for improvements to the home, including raising the rock wall, installing two large gates in the back yard, two additional large gates in the side yard, building a bar onto the kitchen, installing an extensive vanity with a closet in the master bedroom and carpeting throughout the home. All of these improvements were made before the couple ever moved in. The court did the statutory calculations and determined that the amount of the wife’s economic contribution claim is $7,000. Because the amount of the claim does not exceed the equity in the home, the court holds that there is no violation of �3.403(d) (the amount of a claim under this section may not exceed the equity in the property on the date of divorce). “Must we reverse because the trial court mislabeled the total award as ‘reimbursement’ and did not allocate specific dollars to a proper theory of recovery? We find no error in attaching a misnomer to the remedy employed. We conclude that the constituent elements are properly aligned: the pleadings support the evidence, the evidence supports the implied findings of fact, and the findings support the judgment.” Finally, the court rejects the husband’s argument that the reimbursement award so skewed the overall division of the community estate as to constitute an abuse of discretion. The court finds that the trial court made a 62 percent – 38 percent division in the wife’s favor. While the court agrees that it is a disproportionate division, it holds that it is not as grossly disproportionate as the husband contends. The court similarly rejects the husband’s claim that there is “no evidence” to support the disproportionate division. The court points out that the trial court heard evidence that the wife earned $6,500 in the previous year while the husband earned $50,000. Her separate estate totaled $4,250 while his totaled $9,650, excluding his retirement benefits, which the husband admitted were “$40,000 or so.” Thus, the court concluded that there was sufficient evidence from which the trial court could conclude that a disproportionate division was just and right. OPINION:Ann Crawford McClure, J., Barajas, C.J., McClure, and Chew, JJ.

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