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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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