Here are some additional facts about Doug's divorce property issue. This summary contains both key facts and irrelevant background facts. Identify which were key facts, and which were background facts.
Key facts: The legally significant facts of a case that raise the legal question of how or whether the law governing the dispute applies. They are facts upon which the outcome of the case is determined. Key facts establish or satisfy the elements of a cause of action and are necessary to prove or disprove a claim. A key fact is a fact so essential that, if it were changed, the outcome of the case would probably change.
Background facts: Facts presented in a court opinion, case brief, or legal memorandum that put the key facts in context. They give an overview of a factual event and provide the reader with the overall context within which the key facts occurred.
Doug and Denise were legally married 3 years ago, before Doug was granted any rights to the restaurant. You now work for a law firm that represents Doug.
Doug also has a pickup truck that he owned before marriage, which has some rust, runs good, but which has an odometer that had been turned back. He owes nothing on it now, but owed over $5,000 on it at the time he got married. The pickup is solely in his name. Since it has over 150,000 miles on it, he considers it to be "not actually property, just junk, but my junk." It is valued at about $1,000 according to a recently published blue book.
Doug has a lawsuit pending against a person who ran into his pickup a year ago, for personal injuries. The lawsuit is considered "property" even though it may have little value, because it is a claim for money. Doug's lawsuit has been brought in his name only. Doug also has a lawsuit against the person who sold him the pickup, for damages for "turning back" the odometer before sale and over-charging him for the pickup. That lawsuit is based on a sale from before the marriage.
Denise's attorney has made a preliminary motion in the divorce, asking that the judge prohibit Doug from selling or transferring any vehicles or any interest in any business. Denise's attorney has also stated that he intends to claim that the pickup truck and the interest in the restaurant are "marital property" that should be counted when the judge splits marital property between Doug and Denise.
Doug is very upset with Denise, and says that he does not wish to "give her" a divorce or "give her" any property that he has acquired in his name.
Denise has a house, in her own name, acquired during the marriage. Only her funds, through her own job and checkbook, have been used to pay the mortgage. She has possession of the house and has not allowed Doug to enter it. She has a court order prohibiting him from entry. Denise indicated by letter to Doug, that since she has possession, that the divorce court has no jurisdiction over the house.
From the story, there is a contract possibly giving Doug part of the restaurant. Doug is upset that his parents will not hand over his shares. Denise also wishes they would take care of this and she thinks that she should be the real part owner.
The state that Denise and Doug live in has the following provisions:
All property acquired during marriage, regardless of which name the property is titled in, and regardless of current possession, is subject to court division between the parties. Such property is called marital property.
Neither fault of any kind nor the wish of one party to remain married is to be considered in the property division.
Non-marital property is property acquired before marriage. Non-marital property is to remain the property of the person owning it before the marriage. But, if payments were made on indebtedness during the marriage, the property is marital to the extent of principal paid off during the marriage.
Marital property shall be divided equally, regardless of who contributed more to the purchase or to debt payments made on the property.
Doug's divorce property issue is clarified in this solution.