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Curtis v. Weston
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Decision: 1997 ME 28
Docket: Ken-96-255
Submitted on briefs December 13, 1996
Decided February 24, 1997



	[¶1]  Ann Palmer Curtis appeals from the judgment entered in the
Superior Court (Kennebec County, Atwood, J.) affirming the judgment
entered in the District Court (Augusta, Anderson, J.) that granted a divorce
to Curtis and her husband, Stephen W. Weston.  Curtis argues the court
erred by (1) finding the so-called pink house was marital property, (2)
distributing the pink house to Weston, and (3) its determination of the value
of the house.  We affirm the judgment.  
	[¶2] We first dispose of issues one and three.  The pink house was
built during the marriage on land purchased by Curtis prior to the marriage. 
Weston is an experienced house restorer who dismantled a house and barn,
moved them to the Curtis property, and restored them as authentic 1800
buildings.  The record supports the court's finding that most of the
purchase price for the land and all of the value of the building came from
marital funds.  The court properly set apart to Curtis the value of her
nonmarital interest.  Moreover, the court was not compelled to choose
either of the appraisals of the property, but properly determined its value
within the range of the evidence.  Nordberg v. Nordberg, 658 A.2d 217, 219
(Me. 1995).  
	[¶3] The only argument about the distribution of the marital property
that merits discussion is Curtis's contention that the court was compelled to
give the pink house to her because she held the title and owned a
nonmarital interest in the property, albeit that interest represented less
than six percent of the value.  We have previously decided that marital
property may be awarded to one spouse despite the record title in the other
spouse.  Our opinions, however, are not entirely clear.  In West v. West, 550
A.2d 1132 (Me. 1988), we vacated the judgment because the court
undervalued the husband's nonmarital interest in the family home.  We left
intact the award of the property to the wife, either because the award was
not challenged or because we found no error in awarding the property to the
spouse without record title.  In Craigue v. Craigue, 617 A.2d 1027 (Me.
1992), we rejected the husband's contention that his ownership of the only
nonmarital interest in the marital home entitled him to its possession.  We
affirmed the court's award of "possession" of the marital home without
expressly stating that the award included title to the property.  We now
make clear that the existence of record title in one spouse who has the only
nonmarital interest in the property does not preclude the award of title to
the other spouse.  The record title and the extent of a nonmarital interest
are only factors to be considered by the court in the disposition of property
with mixed marital and nonmarital components.  We conclude that the court
acted within its discretion in awarding title to the pink house to Weston. 
Williams v. Williams, 645 A.2d 1118, 1123 (Me. 1994).  
	The entry is:
						Judgment affirmed. 

Attorney for plaintiff: Robert E. Sandy, Jr., Esq. Sherman & Sandy P O Box 499 Waterville, ME 04903-0499 Attorney for defendant: Karen M. Burke, Esq. P O Box 316 Winthrop, ME 04364