ILNews

Judges rule on marital property division

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Trial courts that order parties to sell marital residences can take into account any needed repairs and costs associated with selling residences when figuring the value, as long as those amounts are based on evidence in the record, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided today.

A unanimous three-judge appellate panel ruled today in David Keown v. Cynthia Marie Keown, No. 49A02-0706-CV-496, a Marion County case in which the ex-husband challenged a trial court's decision in recalculating the value of the marital residence as part of a dissolution's property division.

Superior Judge Thomas Carroll ordered that Cynthia Keown make necessary repairs to the house and list it for sale as quickly as possible, and in determining the value the judge reduced it by the amount of repairs not yet made to the house and the costs of sale, as well as including interest in David Keown's mother's property that had served as security for a paid-back loan. The total was $1,972 for the repair costs and $6,285.20 for costs of the sale. David challenged that judgment, and the appellate decision affirms the decision.

David argued that his ex-wife could comply with the order but still have no intention of selling the property, such as listing the property for sale at an inflated price or by listing it for a brief period of time.

"We find David's reading of the trial court's order to be unreasonable," the court wrote, noting that he could file a petition to find her in contempt if she willfully disobeyed the dissolution decree.

He didn't object to evidence on cost of sale or needed repairs during the proceedings, and the trial court didn't abuse its discretion in using those as a basis for its decision, the appeals judges ruled.
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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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