In many instances, individuals getting divorced will enter into settlement agreements to divide what is deemed “marital property.” Settlement agreements are contractual in nature. Therefore, when individuals enter into settlement agreements dividing marital property, the settlement agreements become binding on the parties. The trial court only retains jurisdiction to interpret the terms of the property settlement agreement and to enforce them. But what happens if the settlement agreement was improper or was based on something like fraud? Is there ever any instance in which a court can modify an agreement? The Court of Appeals recently addressed such questions in their ...
July 23, 2020CD
We often see a lot of confusion when it comes to appeals and the appeals process. This is understandable, as it is an extremely technical process, requiring close attention to the rules of appellate procedure. In Indiana, the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court are limited in their ability to hear certain matters and the evidence that can be presented in each particular matter. You may be wondering then, what evidence does the Court of Appeals consider? Can it be any evidence? New evidence? In this blog, we try to answer some of these questions and provide a basic understanding ...
July 17, 2020CD
Child custody litigation is a gut-wrenching experience for all parents. Both want the same amount of time they had before the divorce or post-divorce they may be seeking a modification to gain additional time, but there is only a finite amount of time for custody and parenting time. That said when a parent loses a custody battle their first thought often is to appeal. Sometimes this is possible and sometimes it is not. Further, there are a number of different reasons to appeal. When and why you should appeal a loss in custody litigation is the focus of this blog ...
July 7, 2020CD
Appeals represent only a small fraction of all of the final orders issued each year by Indiana Trial Courts. Appeals take an additional emotional toll, are sometimes costly, and add several more months to the litigation. That said, the Appellant has the right, presupposing the potential Appellee, files an Appellee’s Brief, to have the proverbial last word on appeal and may file a Reply Brief not later than fifteen (15) days after the Appellee’s Brief is served. This is an Appellant’s right under the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure, but it is not required.1 This blog explores why most Appellant’s ...
June 26, 2020CD
Like everyone and everything in life, the judicial system isn’t perfect. As such, sometimes trial courts get it wrong. If you or someone you know just received a child custody determination that you believe was wrongly decided, you have the ability to seek relief via an appeal. How is this done? How long does it take? In this blog, we look at the general process for appealing a custody order in Indiana. The first thing to consider in the appeal process is the timing of initiating the appeal. Generally speaking, once you receive a final custody order, whether it be an ...
June 17, 2020CD
Yes. No. Maybe. In Indiana, child custody is always modifiable, if modification is in the child’s best interests and there is a substantial change in one (1) or more factors1 the court can consider under the initial custody determination statute, namely (1) the age and sex of the child; (2) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents; (3) the wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child’s wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age; (4) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings, and ...
June 5, 2020CD
In a civil trial with many issues, such as divorce which may have child support, custody, and property issues decided, a losing party may want to challenge every issue, such as a minimal difference or error in weekly child support to be paid. While there is no express appellate rule prohibiting or limiting the number of issues a party may raise on appeal, raising more than three or four issues on appeal is normally not prudent. This blog explores why limiting the number of issues raised on appeal is practical and prudent. As a threshold matter, a party that raises numerous ...
May 29, 2020CD
Any party who loses a civil trial (bench or jury) has the right to appeal. Trials and appeals are expensive and laden with emotion. That said, we often receive inquiries from “appellees” when they find out the losing party is taking an appeal.1 These calls all focus on what really happens if they do not file an appellee’s brief. Clearly, the winner in the trial court does not have to file an Appellee’s Brief. This blog explores the reasons a potential appellee should strongly consider filing an Appellee’s Brief. There are two key reasons you should consider retaining appellate counsel to ...
May 15, 2020CD
In domestic cases, trial courts are given wide discretion to decide matters initially, such as when the parties divorce or later in child-support and/or physical and/or legal custody modification proceedings. Further, because so much time, emotion, and judicial resources go into domestic cases, Indiana’s appellate court gives trial courts vast leeway to judge the credibility of witnesses when deciding issues.2 Even if the Court of Appeals might have decided the case differently, it defers to domestic courts on how much weight to assign to a witnesses’ credibility. However, the appellate court’s do not defer to the trial court if it applies ...
May 6, 2020CD
In Indiana, there are thousands and thousands of trials and hearings each year. For litigants who lose on the merits in civil or criminal litigation, there are roughly 3,000 appeals taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals.1 This is Indiana’s intermediate appellate court. The entire appellate process is laborious for the lawyers who handle appeals and time-consuming for the Court because three judges are assigned to review every case. As might be expected, there are comprehensive rules to ensure efficiency and consistency in the process because these appeals come from all of Indiana’s 92 counties. The one rule that can ...
April 30, 2020CD