AMY L. FALATOVICS, Appellant-Petitioner,
IMRE L. FALATOVICS, Appellee-Respondent
APPEAL FROM THE LAPORTE SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Kathleen B. Lang, Judge. Cause No. 46D01-1302-DR-59.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: KRISTINA J. JACOBUCCI, Newby, Lewis, Kaminski & Jones, LLP, La Porte, Indiana.
CRONE, Judge. RILEY, J., and MATHIAS, J., concur.
Amy L. Falatovics (" Wife" ) appeals the decree dissolving her marriage with Imre L. Falatovics (" Husband" ). She argues that the trial court erred in excluding from the marital estate Husband's interest in two parcels of real estate, which he owns as a joint tenant with his brother subject to a life estate in his mother. Wife asserts that Husband's interest in the real estate was improperly excluded from the marital estate because Husband has a present pecuniary interest in the properties. We agree and therefore reverse and remand with instructions to include Husband's interest in the properties in the marital estate and to redistribute the marital assets as appropriate.
Facts and Procedural History
Wife and Husband were married in 1989. In 2005, Husband's parents conveyed by quitclaim deed two parcels of real estate in LaPorte County to Husband and his brother " as joint tenants with rights of survivorship" subject to life estates in favor of Husband's parents. Petitioner's Exs. 4 and 5.
In February 2013, Wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. The parties agreed that the value of Husband's interest in one of the parcels (" Parcel 1" ) was $76,700. Tr. at 7, 13; Petitioner's Ex. 1. They also agreed that the value of Husband's interest in the other parcel (" Parcel 2" ) was $30,000. Id. at 7, 14; Petitioner's Ex. 2. At the time of the final hearing,
Husband's father had passed away. Husband's mother retained possession of the parcels by way of her life estate.
In December 2013, the trial court issued the dissolution decree, finding that as to Parcels 1 and 2, " Husband will never possess this land if he predeceases his mother; or if he predeceases his brother [and he has not] invested any money, labor, or time into the real estate." Appellant's App. at 33-34. The trial court found that Parcels 1 and 2 were not marital assets and awarded Husband " any present or future right, title, and interest in ...