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Kiely v. Starnes-Kiely

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 19, 2014

DAVID D. KIELY, Appellant-Petitioner,
v.
KATHRYN STARNES-KIELY, Appellee-Respondent

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE DAVIESS CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable Gregory A. Smith, Judge. Cause No. 14C01-1008-DR-388.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: KEITH W. VONDERAHE, Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, LLP, Evansville, Indiana.

VAIDIK, Chief Judge. RILEY, J., and PYLE, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

VAIDIK, Chief Judge.

Case Summary

This is the second appeal in this dissolution case. In the first appeal, David D. Kiely ("Husband") challenged the trial court's nearly equal division of the marital estate. Specifically, Husband took issue with the trial court's treatment of property he had inherited from his father, which constituted about half of the total marital estate. Husband argued that he was entitled to all of the inherited property and half of the remaining marital estate--the non-inherited property. In other words, Husband sought significantly more than half of the total marital estate.

We were unable to sufficiently address Husband's claim because of conflicting language in the trial court's order. The court seemed to imply that Husband had rebutted the presumption of an equal division but nonetheless divided the marital estate nearly equally. And elsewhere in the record, the trial court appeared to suggest that it intended to give Husband all of the inherited property and half of the remaining estate, yet it had not done so. We therefore remanded for clarification.

On remand, the trial court clarified its intent to divide the marital estate equally. In light of this and our deferential standard of review, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

Husband and Wife were married in December 1990. Fifteen years later, while they were still married, Husband inherited a number of assets from his father. These assets included real estate in Indiana and Kentucky--including an office building in Evansville--stock in various companies, such as Pfizer, Verizon, and Vectren, valuable coins, and artwork. The total value of these items was approximately $278,000.

Husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in 2010. In addition to the items inherited by Husband, the parties had accumulated other marital assets, including real estate, stock, and financial accounts. In April 2012, the trial court entered an order resolving all issues related to the parties' children and the marital estate.[1]

In its order, the trial court explained that both the inherited and non-inherited assets were marital property subject to division. The court made a number of findings concerning the inherited property, including the following:

There is no evidence that the Wife contributed, in any way, to the acquisition or preservation of the inherited assets.
The parties had been married for approximately fifteen (15) years before the Husband's father died.
Therefore, the Husband's father could have set aside property for the Wife if he desired to do so, or left the property to the parties jointly.
Not only did the Wife not contribute to the acquisition or preservation of the inherited property, the testimony was that she failed to even visit the Husband's father in the hospital where he was having surgery to ...

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