COA affirms rulings in division of military pension

January 13, 2017

A man who sought to void trial court orders that granted his ex-wife a portion of his military pension lost his interlocutory appeal Friday.

The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected Samuel W. Koonce’s challenges of trial court rulings. A Hendricks Superior Judge denied his motions for relief from judgment under Trial Rule 60(B)(6) and his motion to clarify a dissolution decree.

Judge Melissa May wrote for the court that caselaw disfavors appeals under Trial Rule 60(B)(6), which permits relief when a judgment is void. Often, those cases involve matters that are not void, but voidable, in appeals that aim to attack a ruling on its merits rather than on jurisdictional grounds.

“We decline Husband’s invitation to examine the merits of his underlying legal argument in order to determine whether the Dissolution Court had authority to render any judgment at all,” May wrote in Samuel W. Koonce v. Kim M. Finney, 32A04-1604-CT-806.

Likewise, the trial court’s denial of Koonce’s motion to clarify the dissolution order was proper, the panel concluded, and the trial court properly concluded how much of Koonce’s pension his ex-wife was entitled to receive under federal law. “(W)e find no abuse of discretion in the Civil Court’s denial of Husband’s motion to clarify.”


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