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Judges order more proceedings in property distribution after divorce

March 6, 2014

Citing inconsistencies and lack of information, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings to determine issues of spousal maintenance and distribution of the marital estate in a divorce case.

Frank and Karen Ozug agreed to binding arbitration regarding Karen Ozug’s petition for dissolution of marriage. Karen Ozug sought a deviation from the statutory presumption of an equal distribution of personal property because she had inherited nearly $195,000 from her family 10 years earlier. She tried to stash away this money, which had been in various joint accounts in both parties’ names, upon separation of the parties. She also sought spousal maintenance due to alleged health issues, but there was no credible evidence presented to support her allegations of these conditions.

Frank Ozug was ordered to pay spousal maintenance in the form of continuing health coverage for his ex-wife for one year from the date of the decree. He was ordered solely responsible for the $47,000 in credit card debt and awarded funds in several accounts and 50 percent of his pensions, except for his pension in place before marriage. Karen Ozug received funds from several other accounts as well as two of the three cars.

“We find the findings and conclusions in this case to be facially inconsistent and insufficient to support the property distribution in the present case,” Judge James Kirsch wrote in In Re the Marriage of: Frank J. Ozug v. Karen S. Ozug, 45A03-1307-DR-250. Under the spousal maintenance section, the findings say the arbitrator found no credible evidence to support Karen Ozug’s allegations, yet the health care coverage was awarded as a form of spousal maintenance. In addition, her request for a deviation of the presumptive equal division of personal property was denied without explanation, but a clarification by the arbitrator indicates the distribution of property resulted in 61 percent to Karen Ozug and 39 percent to Frank Ozug.

“We, therefore, vacate the trial court’s judgment and remand for proceedings to remedy these problems and determine the issues of spousal maintenance and distribution of the marital estate,” he wrote.
 

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