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Wife wins appeal of division of marital estate

February 27, 2015

The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a wife in a divorce proceeding that the trial court erred in how it calculated and divided the marital estate. The lower court incorrectly attributed the value of Florida real estate to the wife’s share of the marital pot as well as failed to credit her for paying the parties’ tax debt.

Mary Ann and Robert Crider married in October 1989 and had no children of their marriage, but they had adult children from prior marriages. Robert Crider filed for a legal separation on April 2, 2012, and then asked to convert that to a dissolution on June 28, 2012. At the dissolution hearing in 2013, the trial court exempted wife’s $75,000 inheritance from the marital pot, but divided everything else equally between the parties.

The trial court determined wife had to pay her husband an equalization payment. She filed a motion to correct error, challenging the division, which the trial court denied.

In Mary Ann Crider v. Robert Crider, 34A02-1403-DR-210, the Court of Appeals reversed and sent the case back to the trial court for recalculation. Wife gave her daughter $14,000 to buy a Florida property, which she intended to live in after the divorce. The property was purchased in May of 2012, after husband filed for legal separation, so it should not be considered part of the marital pot, the COA held.

The lower court also erred by not including the parties’ 2010 tax debt as part of the marital estate. Wife paid the tax obligation of $1,965 after the dissolution proceedings began, but it relates to when the parties were still married. The tax debt is a marital liability and should have been considered by the trial court in fashioning an equitable division of property, Judge Patricia Riley wrote.

 

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