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COA reminds ex-spouse that turnips cannot bleed

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Calling her interpretation of Indiana law incorrect, the Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s argument against the decrease in her spousal support and reminded her that “one cannot bleed a turnip.”   

The COA affirmed the trial court’s reduction in the amount of spousal maintenance in Christine Banks v. Timothy R. Banks, 45A03-1203-DR-96.

At the time Christine and Timothy Banks divorced in September 2000, the trial court determined that Christine was physically incapacitated and ordered Timothy to pay $500 per month to her as maintenance.

Timothy Banks filed a motion to modify and reduce his maintenance obligation in June 2011 because he was suffering from Crohn’s disease and unable to work. The trial court reduced his obligation to $40 per week or about $173.33 per month.

Christine Banks appealed, contending that under Indiana law, an award of incapacity spousal maintenance cannot be modified or reduced unless the incapacitated spouse’s health has improved. She stated there was no evidence that her health had improved since the time of the divorce.

The court noted this position is incorrect. Citing In re Trust Created Under Last Will and Testament of Mitchell, 875 N.E.2d 433, 435 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003), and Lowes v. Lowes, 650 N.E.2d 1171 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995), Judge Michael Barnes wrote the court has held that when determining whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances justifying modification of a spousal maintenance award, a trial court should consider the factors underlying the original award. These factors include the financial resources of the party seeking to continue maintenance and the ability of the spouse paying maintenance to meet his or her own needs.

“…where the obligor spouse’s reduction in income or deterioration in financial condition is the result of factors beyond his or her control, he or she should not be forced to continue paying maintenance at the level based on a higher income or better financial condition,” Barnes wrote. “One cannot bleed a turnip.”


 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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