Toth v. Toth

In Toth v. Toth, 190 Ariz. 218, 946 P.2d 900 (1997), the Arizona Supreme Court analyzed the meaning of "equitable" as used in A.R.S. 25-318(A), and concluded that in addition to the statutorily enumerated factors, a court may consider the source of the funds used to purchase or improve the property in question and any "other equitable factors that bear on the outcome" of an equitable division, such as, but not limited to, the duration of the marriage. Id. at 219-22, 946 P.2d at 901-04. The husband in Toth used $ 140,000 of his separate funds to buy a house that the couple took title to as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Id. at 219, 946 P.2d at 901. In doing so, he made a presumptive gift to his wife of a one-half interest in the house. Id. at 220, 946 P.2d at 902. The marriage, however, lasted only two weeks. Id. at 219, 946 P.2d at 901. In dividing the marital property, the family court awarded wife $ 15,000 as her share in the property, notwithstanding it was the only marital asset to be divided. Id. Toth is often referred to as a "two-week" marriage because the Husband moved out of the marital bedroom two weeks after the couple's nuptials. For clarification, the couple was married for twenty-eight days before the husband filed for dissolution. See Toth, 190 Ariz. at 219, 946 P.2d at 901. On appeal, this court held that the family court abused its discretion in ordering a substantially unequal division of the house. Id. The supreme court disagreed, finding that a deviation from an equal division of the property was appropriate given that wife had "made no contribution--pecuniary or otherwise--to the purchase of the house" and the extremely short union allowed "no time for a marital relationship to develop, or for other equities to come into play." Id. at 221, 946 P.2d at 903. The court emphasized that the award was not made "solely" to reimburse the contributing spouse for the separate funds used to buy the house. See id. at 222, 946 P.2d at 904. The Court recognized the case as being an unusual situation where "equal was not equitable" and fairness required that the property "not be characterized as community and should, instead, be awarded in large measure to one spouse accordingly." Id. at 221-22, 946 P.2d at 903-04