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COA dismisses divorce appeal for untimeliness

October 19, 2016

The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal of an order dissolving a LaPorte County couple’s marriage after finding that the appeal was not filed within the correct timeframe.

In Kevin L. Snyder v. Anastasia Snyder, 46A03-1510-DR-1792, Kevin and Anastasia Snyder were married in 1997 following the execution of a prenuptial agreement. Anastasia Snyder filed a petition for separation in 2011, which was later dismissed after her husband filed a petition for dissolution. During the divorce proceedings, the Snyders submitted an agreed order that the prenuptial agreement would be enforced.

During the final hearing in June 2013, the Snyders disputed how the agreement would affect the distribution of five antique cars, a motorcycle and two trailers, which were only in Kevin Snyder’s name. When the trial court issued its dissolution decree in March 2015, it found that the disputed vehicles were not Kevin Snyder’s property under the agreement and, therefore, were subject to equitable division. However, the court did not distribute the vehicles at that time, but instead chose to reserve the issue for a later date pending the presentation of further evidence.

Kevin Snyder then filed a motion to correct error, but the trial court denied the motion, prompting his appeal. The Court of Appeals chose to dismiss Kevin Snyder’s appeal, writing in a Wednesday opinion that because the valuation and distribution of the vehicles was left for a later date, the order that they be distributed equitably could not be considered a final decision.

Further, the appellate court wrote that the issue was not an appealable interlocutory order because Kevin Snyder did not file his notice of appeal within 30 days of the interlocutory order in March 2015, but instead chose to file a motion to correct error. Because the order was interlocutory and not final, Kevin Snyder should have filed a motion to reconsider, which would not have tolled the 30-day timeframe, the court wrote.

Thus, the appellate court wrote that Kevin Snyder’s initial motion must be considered a motion to reconsider, which does not extend the 30-day deadline. Because he did not file his notice to appeal until October 2015, the appeal fell out of the 30-day window and was, therefore, untimely.

“Because the issues (Kevin Snyder) raises in this appeal will remain available to him after the trial court enters final judgment in this case, we find no extraordinarily compelling reasons to restore his forfeited right to seek interlocutory appeal of the March 30, 2015 order,” Judge Robert Altice wrote for the court.
 

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