ILNews

COA: Husband not entitled to judgment relief

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order granting a husband relief from judgment because the order modified the parties' original property settlement, which wasn't allowed under Indiana Statute or Trial Rule 60(B).

In Janet L. Dillard v. Donald S. Dillard, No. 36A01-0712-CV-606, Donald Dillard filed for divorce from his wife, Janet Dillard, in July 2006. The parties agreed in December 2006 to a property settlement, which stipulated the marital home would be sold and Donald would receive 25 percent of net profits and Janet would receive 75 percent.

The settlement agreement stated any modification or waivers of the terms of the agreement would be effective only if they are reduced to writing and executed with the same formality as the agreement.

In February 2007, Donald filed a motion to set aside the dissolution decree because before they separated, he withdrew money from his 401(k) to pay off some of the couple's credit card debt and that withdrawal will result in a tax liability of more than $26,000.

Janet filed a motion to dismiss, arguing Indiana Code Section 31-15-2-17(c) prohibited the modification of the decree because she hadn't consented to a modification, and the parties hadn't executed a written modification as required under the settlement agreement.

The trial court granted Donald's motion regarding the property settlement portion of the decree; Janet filed a motion to reconsider, saying Donald wasn't entitled to relief under Trial Rule 60(B). The trial court denied the motion to reconsider, and in November 2007, ordered that the majority of the net proceeds from the sale of the marital house go to Donald to pay of his tax liability.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the trial court ruling because the parties didn't agree to a modification of the disposition of their property as is required by the original settlement agreement. Janet never consented to the modification, as is required under Indiana Code. A court can only modify the dissolution if there is fraud, duress, or undue influence, which didn't occur in this case, wrote Judge Carr Darden.

Donald also wasn't entitled to relief under Trial Rule 60(B) because he didn't set forth any extraordinary circumstances or show that the circumstances weren't his fault that would invoke the trial court's equitable powers under the rule, wrote Judge Darden.
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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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