Property owned by husband’s parents are not marital assets, COA affirms

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the exclusion of real estate and an internet service provider company from the marital assets of a couple in their divorce proceedings, agreeing with a trial court that the challenged assets were actually the property of the husband’s parents.

During divorce proceedings between wife Vinita Singh Tyagi and husband Vichitra Tyagi, a motion to intervene was brought by Vichitra’s parents, Sushma and Vijai, on the grounds that Sushma owns Hoosier Broadband LLC and Vijai owns Zionsville real estate.

Hoosier Broadband, established by Vichitra, at one point hit financial troubles that led to Sushma acquiring 100% of the company’s ownership interest. Additionally, Vijai purchased a Zionsville property where the four family members ultimately resided and where HBB was operated.

Vichitra loaned Vijai $71,000 in the purchase and refinancing of the property, but Vijai is the only obligor on the mortgage loan and the real estate taxes and homeowner insurance are also in her name.

In moving to intervene, the parents argued the dissolution proceedings may “impair or impede [their] ability to protect their interests in their property and their interest is not adequately represented by existing parties.”

Vichitra and Vinita jointly moved to bifurcate the dissolution proceedings and requested that the Boone Superior Court determine, apart from the rest of the proceedings, whether HBB and the real estate should be included in the marital estate as marital assets. The trial court ultimately concluded neither the company nor the real estate were martial assets, but rather the property of Sushma and Vijai.

Vinita appealed and argued the trial court erred, while her husband countered that the trial court was correct in its decision. An appellate panel agreed with the husband, finding both the real estate and HBB were owned by his parents in Vinita Singh Tyagi v. Vichitra Tyagi, Vijai and Sushma Tyagi, 19A-DR-607.

“… Wife has failed to show that Husband owns HBB and the Real Estate. Thus, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that HBB and the Real Estate are owned by Sushma and Vijai and, therefore, were not marital assets,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote for the appellate court.

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