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. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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