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Sauls v. Sauls

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

September 16, 2014

LOIS A. SAULS, Plaintiff,
v.
ROLAND GARY SAULS, Defendant

Heard in the Court of Appeals August 13, 2014.

Beaufort County. No. 06 CVD 1632.

Attorney Jonathan McGirt, for plaintiff.

Attorney W. Gregory Duke, for defendant.

ELMORE, Judge, Judges CALABRIA and STEPHENS concur.

OPINION

Page 329

ELMORE, Judge.

Appeal by defendant from orders entered 15 February 2013 and 11 July 2013 by Judge Darrell B. Cayton, Jr. in Beaufort County District Court.

Defendant timely appeals from: 1.) an equitable distribution order entered 15 February 2013 ordering defendant to pay plaintiff an in-kind distribution of $178,667.49 in cash and check proceeds and 2.) an order entered 11 July 2013 denying defendant's motion for a new trial pursuant to Rule 59 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. After careful consideration, we affirm.

I. Facts

Lois A. Sauls (plaintiff) and Roland Gary Sauls (defendant) married each other on 6 October 1963. Over the years, defendant accumulated large sums of cash, which he kept inside a safe in the parties' former marital residence. Although plaintiff knew where the combination to the safe was hidden, she did not access the safe unless directed to do so by defendant. In September 2005, the parties temporarily separated. Around this time, plaintiff attempted to access the safe on her own but the combination and keys had been removed from their usual hiding place. Defendant was the only other person who knew where the combination and keys were hidden.

The parties reconciled in January 2006. At that time, defendant had four checks, each for $10,000, issued and made payable to plaintiff. On two separate occasions, defendant drove plaintiff to the bank, sent her inside to endorse and cash one of the checks, and then plaintiff gave defendant the cash proceeds, which he " needed . . . for the business." Plaintiff testified that she never cashed the two remaining checks and defendant always kept the checks in his possession. However, defendant claimed plaintiff cashed the remaining two checks in the same way as she did the first two and that plaintiff had just " forgot some things."

The parties finally separated on 13 August 2006. On 13 December 2006, plaintiff filed a complaint asserting claims for post-separation support, alimony, divorce from bed and board, equitable distribution, and ...


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