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Man didn’t prove ex-wife misappropriated child support payments

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Sidestepping a question of first impression in a child support case, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the modification of child support due to insufficient evidence. The father in this case believed his ex-wife was using child support money to fund her veterinary practice.

James Krampen sought to modify his $3,000 per week child support payment for his four children, alleging Carrie Krampen used child support funds to establish and subsidized her veterinarian clinic. He sought an accounting under I.C. 31-16-9-6 and establishment of a constructive trust. In his deposition, James Krampen said his children were properly housed, clothed and fed by his wife and he didn’t believe she overspent in those areas.

His attorney submitted Carrie Krampen’s 2011 income tax return that showed an adjusted gross income of negative $72,148 and checks from her bank account that purport to show his child support paid for the business. The trial court ruled in favor of the father, reduced his child support payments and ordered Carrie Krampen to provide an accounting of future child support expenditures.

In Carrie A. Krampen v. James J. Krampen, 45A05-1212-DR-628, the COA cited Kovenock v. Mallus, 660 N.E.2d 638, 640 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996) in reversing the accounting order, in which the court held that party must be able to show evidence of impropriety that negatively impacts the child’s basic needs. The trial court should not have relied on Carrie Krampen’s tax filing, and she introduced bank statements showing large deposits into her account in addition to the money received from her ex-husband. The trial court erred in finding she misappropriated funds.

The judges also disagreed with James Krampen’s claim that opening the veterinarian practice and using child support funds to do so constitutes a substantial and continuing change warranting a reduction in support he pays.

“ … the question of whether misuse of funds by the custodial parent creates a substantial and continuing change is an issue of first impression not addressed by our court. Yet, we need not address it,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote. “Having just found that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that child support had been misappropriated, the trial court’s modification of child support on that basis was also inappropriate.”  

The trial court must enter a new support order consistent with this opinion. Judge James Kirsch dissented without opinion.
 

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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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