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Trial court must consider husband’s interest in land in divorce case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial court to take another look at the marital pot of a northern Indiana couple, finding the lower court should have included the husband’s ownership interest in two parcels of land he owns as a joint tenant with his brother.

Imre Falatovics has interest in the two parcels of land with his brother, subject to a life estate in his mother. These two parcels were excluded from the marital estate, which his wife, Amy Falatovics, claims is an error because he has a present pecuniary interest in the properties.

Imre Falatovics has a remainder interest in the land subject to a life estate which represents a pecuniary interest capable of valuation. It does not matter whether he owns the land as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship or as a tenant in common, the appeals court held.

“Wife argues that the difference is immaterial in this context because as a joint tenant, Husband has a fixed, vested interest in the parcels, which he can convey for value,” Judge Terry Crone wrote in Amy L. Falatovics v. Imre L. Falatovics, 46A04-1401-DR-20. “We agree with Wife. Husband’s remainder interest in Parcels 1 and 2, which he holds as a joint tenant, has a present pecuniary interest. His interest in the parcels is an asset capable of valuation. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court erred in excluding Husband’s interest in Parcels 1 and 2 from the marital pot and reverse that portion of the decree.”

Amy Falatovics wants her husband’s interest divided equally between them, but the Court of Appeals remanded for further proceedings because the decision to divide the marital pot equally by the trial court was not based upon the proper valuation of the marital estate.
 

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