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- Lecture number:
- Lecture Note
- Cornell University
- Econ 4040 - Economics and the Law
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Lecture 19 Outline of Previous Lecture I. Peevyhouse Current Lecture II. Haugan The couple, Patricia and Gordon Haugan, were married on August 4, 1973. About a month later the husband entered medical school and the wife began gainful employment. Each already had a bachelor's degree. For the first four years of their marriage the wife taught elementary school while the husband attended medical school in South Dakota and then in Minnesota. The wife's total earnings of between $26,187 and $28,974 supported the couple during these four years. The husband received a stipend of $2,200 and borrowed money to pay education expenses. [117 Wis.2d 203] The wife continued to teach school for the next three years of their marriage while the husband, having graduated from medical school, was in a medical residency in Chicago. The husband's aggregate earnings for that three-year period were between $49,254 and $49,548, and the wife's were between $43,339 and $45,056. In addition to working full time outside the home, the wife performed virtually all of the household duties over the seven years. In 1980, in anticipation of the husband's completing his medical training and beginning this practice of medicine, the couple bought a house in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the wife resigned from her teaching job. On May 13, 1980, however, about two months before the husband completed his medical residency, the couple separated. In August 1980 the husband began practicing pediatric medicine in Green Bay at an annual salary of $48,000 ($4,000 a month) plus bonuses, for a total annual compensation of $55,498. The wife was unemployed until February 1981, when she began a job with IBM in Green Bay at an annual salary of $19,680 ($1,640 a month). Between August 1980 and August 1981 the husband voluntarily paid the wife a total of $10,150 ($817 a month in temporary maintenance plus half of a joint income tax refund of $693). The wife testified that at the time of the marriage she and her husband shared the expectation that she would support him while he obtained his medical education and that he would support her after he began his medical practice, allowing her to pursue the career of a homemaker, wife, and mother. The husband argued that the record did not establish a "mutual agreement" since it contained no evidence of a written or formalized agreement. The trial court concluded that "no mutuality of such `contract' had been established" and that the wife's expectation was "not an express or implied contractual [117 Wis.2d 204] Econ 4040 1st Edition arrangement." Nonetheless, cognizance must be taken of the fact that the husband had a general idea of the wife's expectations. Roberto v. Brown, 107 Wis.2d 17, 20, 318 N.W.2d 358 (1982). At the time of the divorce the couple had acquired few assets and substantial liabilities. The couple's assets included cars (valued at $4,650), furniture (valued at $10,675), an interest in a teacher's retirement fund (valued at $2,808), shares of stock in the clinic where the husband ...
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