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CHERYL TOCCO v. JOHN D. TOCCO (10/12/89)

filed: October 12, 1989.

CHERYL TOCCO, APPELLANT,
v.
JOHN D. TOCCO, JR., APPELLEE



Appeal From Judgment Entered March 13, 1989 In Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Susquehanna County, No. 1986 - 831 C.P.

COUNSEL

Laurence M. Kelly, Montrose, for appellant.

Joseph P. Hester, Jr., Montrose, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Tamilia and Kelly, JJ.

Author: Cavanaugh

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 311]

The parties involved in this appeal were married on June 18, 1983. They separated in August, 1985. There was a short reconciliation from February, 1986 until August, 1986 when a final separation occurred.

There was a bifurcation of the divorce and equitable distribution proceedings. A divorce decree was entered in favor of the plaintiff below, Cheryl Tocco, and no appeal has been taken from the entry of the divorce decree. A final hearing on the equitable distribution of marital property was held in January, 1988. An order was entered on June 1, 1988 directing distribution and an appeal has been taken to this court from that order.*fn1

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 312]

The marriage of the parties was the second for each. Both parties had two sons from a previous marriage. John Tocco is approximately ten years older than the appellant, Cheryl Tocco, who was about thirty-two years old at the time of the marriage. When the marriage took place, the appellee had an extensive securities portfolio which he had either purchased with his own funds or inherited. He also had a farm in Montrose, Pennsylvania and two other pieces of real estate in New York State, which he rented. The appellant at that time owned a house in Montrose, Pennsylvania and was employed as a personnel manager at Savin Corporation.

After the parties were married, they worked together on appellee's farm, known as Foxglove Farm, and endeavored to breed and sell Arabian horses. The farm was owned by the appellee at the time of the marriage and after he was married, he purchased several horses. However, the business did not prosper and operated at a loss during the entire time of the marriage. The value of the horses decreased drastically.*fn2

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 313]

Not only did the appellee's horse farm decrease in value, but his portfolio of securities was drastically reduced. At the time of his marriage, the appellee's securities were valued well in excess of $1,000,000.00. He owned a great deal of stock in International Business Machine (IBM) and American Telephone & Telegraph (AT & T).*fn3 In August, 1986, when the final separation took place, the appellee's securities were worth about $1,800,000.00. However, by March, 1987, the appellee was subject to margin calls as the value of his securities against which he had borrowed money to purchase options, had dropped dramatically. In the spring of 1987, he was forced to sell the balance of his AT & T and IBM stock and the entire proceeds were used toward reducing the outstanding balance in his margin accounts. In August, 1987, the appellee sold additional securities to be used toward reducing his margin account, but even these sales did not satisfy his indebtedness. The appellee's financial situation further deteriorated as a result of the drastic sell-off in the stock market in October, 1987. By that time, the net value of his securities was reduced to about $350,000.00 which represented a loss of about $1,000,000.00 in the value of his securities from the time of his marriage.

The appellee's assets when he married, beside real estate and securities, included horses worth about $350,000.00. However, due to a decline in the market for Arabian horses, the value in January, 1988 was only about $100,000.00. The gross value of the assets which the defendant owned at the time of his marriage was also ...


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