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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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