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Kodama v. Kodama

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai'i

December 31, 2014

CINDY CHURAN KODAMA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ALAN HARUO KODAMA, Defendant-Appellant

As Amended February 18, 2015.

Editorial Note:

This decision is published in table format in the Hawai'i reporter

APPEAL FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT. FC-D NO. 08-1-2862.

On the briefs: Peter Van Name Esser, Edward R. Lebb, for Defendant-Appellant.

R. Steven Geshell, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Nakamura, C.J., and Leonard and Ginoza, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

In this divorce case, Defendant-Appellant Alan Kodama (Husband) appeals from the " Decree Granting Absolute Divorce and Awarding Child Custody" (Divorce Decree) entered by the Family Court of the First Circuit (Family Court).[1] The Divorce Decree was entered pursuant to the Family Court's " Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law." The Divorce Decree dissolved Husband's sixteen-year marriage with Plaintiff-Appellee Cindy Kodama (Wife), divided the parties' marital assets, awarded custody of the parties' two minor children, and awarded Wife alimony and child support.

The primary issue raised by Husband on appeal involves the Family Court's valuation of Husband's financial services business. Husband and Wife each called an expert at trial on the question of the proper valuation of Husband's business, and the Family Court ultimately adopted the valuation recommended by Wife's expert. On appeal, Husband contends that the Family Court erred by improperly valuing Husband's financial services business. Husband also contends that the Family Court erred in: (1) awarding Wife $5,000 a month in alimony for five years; (2) holding an additional hearing after the divorce trial to determine Husband's income in rendering its decision on child support; (3) requiring Husband to pay $200,000 to Wife for her equity in a property on Maui awarded to Husband, even though the stipulated valuation of the Maui Property, which the Family Court accepted, showed only negative equity; (4) making an " illusory" award to Husband of his life insurance policy (Policy 80004) that was controlled by Wife; and (5) failing to credit Husband with the value of investment accounts he owned at the date of marriage.

As explained below, with respect to the primary issue raised by Husband on appeal, we conclude that the Family Court did not err in valuing Husband's business. With respect to the remaining issues, we conclude that the Family Court erred in its decisions regarding the division of the Maui Property, the award of Husband's Policy 80004, and the valuation of the investment accounts owned by Husband at the date of marriage. We therefore vacate the provisions of the Divorce Decree that relate to, or are affected by our decision regarding, these matters and remand for further proceedings. We affirm the Divorce Decree in all other respects.

BACKGROUND

I.

Husband and Wife were married on November 20, 1993. They have two children together: Daughter, born in 1995, and Son, born in 2000. Wife was a " stay at home" mother responsible for the care of the parties' children and household, while Husband was the family's primary income earner. At the time of their marriage, Husband was an independent contractor for Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (Ameriprise)[2] providing financial advice and services. In 2000, he signed a franchise agreement with Ameriprise and his financial services business, Alan Kodama & Associates, became a franchisee of Ameriprise. Husband's business was successful, and the parties accumulated substantial wealth while married, including their marital home (Marital Home); 50% share in a beach house in Mokulě 'ia (Mokulē 'ia Property); two condominium units on Kaua'i (Kaua'i Condos 1 and 2 or collectively, " Kaua'i Condos" ); a property located in Wailuku, Maui used to service Husband's Maui clients (Maui Property); bank accounts containing substantial sums; security and investment accounts; and life insurance and retirement policies.

A. Pre-Trial

On September 2, 2008, Wife filed a complaint in the Family Court seeking dissolution of the parties' marriage. Shortly after Wife filed her ...


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