Husband wins remand over asset division in divorce case

A husband who disagreed with the division of assets in his divorce case has won partial victory and a remand from the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In Kurt E. Baglan v. Jamey E. Baglan, 19A-DN-858, Kurt and Jamey Baglan were married in 1989 and built careers at Boeckman’s Furniture Inc., which had been owned by Jamey’s parents since 1972. Jamey was gifted 26 shares in the company valued at $120,640 in 2015, while the couple acquired “substantial” real and personal property throughout their marriage.

The couple separated when Kurt filed for divorce in August 2017, and Jamey argued in the Dubois Superior Court that her shares in Boeckman’s Furniture should not be included in the marital estate. But the parties did agree on how to divide various vehicles that they owned.

When the trial court divided the estate in April 2019, it agreed with Jamey that her shares in the furniture company should not be included in the estate. It also found that the vehicles were “divided in a way agreeable and fair to both parties so that no value or inclusion for those vehicles is included as part of this Order dividing the marital estate.” Also, the court did not enter any findings or conclusions regarding stock the couple owned in German American Bank.

Kurt appealed, arguing first that the trial court erred in failing to include Jamey’s shares in Boeckman’s Furniture, the vehicles and the German American Bank stocks in the estate. The appellate court agreed, with Judge Patricia Riley pointing to Indiana Code § 31-15-7-4(a) and Falatovics v. Falatovics, 15 N.E.3d 108, 110 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), to find an abuse of discretion in the exclusion of the shares and the vehicles.

“In addition, in its Order the trial court did not enter any findings or conclusions determining the value of, or dividing, the German American Bank stocks, even though both parties submitted proposed valuations for that asset and requested that it be divided,” Riley wrote. “Although the trial court ordered that ‘any property not specifically provided herein shall remain the property of the party with possession of that property,’ our review of the record did not reveal any evidence of which party was in possession of the German American Bank stocks. In any event, the parties disputed the value of the stocks.”

The case was thus remanded with instructions to include the excluded assets in the estate, determine their value and re-divide the estate accordingly. Given that ruling, the COA declined to address Kurt’s argument that the trial court also abused its discretion in awarding an unequal share of the state to Jamey.

Kurt also challenged the $120,640 valuation of Jamey’s shares in Boeckman’s Furniture, which he said reflected the value as of 2015, when they were gifted, and not as of a date between the August 2017 divorce petition and the final hearing. The appellate court agreed, remanding with instructions “to select a valuation date for the shares between the date of filing for dissolution and the date of the final hearing in conjunction with its consideration of this asset as part of the marital estate.”

Finally, Kurt argued the trial court erred in valuing a Boeckman Rentals warehouse at $135,000 when his expert placed the value at $262,500. But the appellate court rejected that argument, finding that the valuation “was within the ranges of values suggested by the parties’ expert witnesses … .”

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