Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In re Marriage of Graham case brief

In re Marriage of Graham case brief summary
574 P.2d 75 (1978)

In a divorce action petitioner wife sought to split the monetary value of respondent husband's master's degree in business (MBA) and appealed a ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that the MBA did not constitute marital property subject to division under the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-113(2) (1973).

Throughout their six-year marriage, the wife provided over 70 percent of the financial support for the family, including the husband's education. When parties sought a divorce, the wife claimed that the husband's MBA degree was a marital asset and that she was entitled to a share its monetary value. The trial court held that the MBA had a future earnings value of over $ 100,000 and divided it between the parties. The appellate court reversed.


  • The court here affirmed the appellate decision finding that pursuant to the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-113(2) (1973), the MBA was not property subject to division. 
  • The court found that the Act did not explicitly define property to include educational degrees and, as the degree could not be assigned, sold, transferred, conveyed, or pledged, it was an aid which could potentially assist in the future acquisition of property rather than an actual item of property.

The court held that the master's degree in business was not property as encompassed by the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, and as such the wife was not entitled to claim a share of the degree based on an analysis of the value of the degree for the husband's future earnings.

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