ILNews

COA: Growing crops go in marital pot

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that crops growing in the ground that haven't been harvested are considered marital assets. This is the first time Indiana courts have ruled on the issue.

In In Re the Marriage of: James R. Webb v. Nancy J. (Webb) Schleutker, No. 49A02-0707-CV-568, James Webb appealed the trial court decision to include soon-to-be harvested crops in the marital pot. The trial court issued its dissolution decree in February 2007, and included crops growing in August 2005 at the time Nancy Schleutker filed for divorce.

Because no Indiana caselaw had discussed the proposition that growing crops are marital assets, the Court of Appeals turned to other jurisdictions to determine that the crops should be considered marital assets, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik.

The appellate court also affirmed the trial court's consideration of United States Department of Agriculture payments as part of the value of the crops, the trial court's valuing of the marital property, and the division of the marital property. The trial court didn't err in allowing Schleutker to stay in the marital residence for three months after Webb made a property equalization payment to her, wrote the judge.

"There was nothing improper about the trial court allowing Wife a short period of time to secure new housing in order to accomplish the property division," wrote Judge Vaidik. "As for Husband's assertion that the value of Wife's continued residence is an amount in excess of the marital estate, there is no indication that Wife's prerogative to stay at the marital residence for up to three months is over and above the equal division."

The appellate court also affirmed the award of appellate attorney's fees to Schleutker.
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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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