Appeal from the Howard Superior Court. Cause No. 34D04-0807-DR-809. The Honorable Thomas R. Lett, Special Judge.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: Jacob D. Winkler, Katherine J. Noel, Noel Law, Kokomo, Indiana.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: Dan J. May, Kokomo, Indiana.
Barnes, Judge. May, J., and Pyle, J., concur.
[¶1] Ronald Fritts appeals the trial court's ruling on a motion for relief from judgment filed by his ex-wife, Linda Christopher. Linda cross-appeals, challenging the trial court's resolution of other issues raised by the parties post-dissolution. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.
[¶2] Ronald raises one issue, which we restate as:
I. whether the trial court properly declined to credit Linda with his proposed value of his pension's surviving spouse benefit.
[¶3] On cross-appeal, Linda raises five issues, which we restate as:
II. whether the trial court's calculation of Linda's child support arrearage failed to take into account a set-off included in the 2010 dissolution order;
III. whether the trial court properly calculated outstanding medical expenses owed by Linda;
IV. whether the trial court properly found that Ronald complied with the dissolution order when he paid Linda's previous attorney $4,000.00;
V. whether the trial court properly declined to credit Linda for various accounts; and
VI. whether Linda is entitled to appellate attorney fees based on Indiana Appellate Rule 66(E).
[¶4] Ronald and Linda were married in 1993. During the marriage, Ronald adopted one of Linda's daughters, Kelsey, who is now emancipated. The couple separated in June 2008, and, on July 16, 2008, Linda petitioned for dissolution of the marriage.
[¶5] In December 2008, during the dissolution proceedings, Ronald retired from Delphi. When he retired, he elected a surviving spouse benefit. As a result of Delphi's bankruptcy, administration rights of Ronald's pension were transferred to PBGC, and Ronald's pension was reduced. A February 2, 2010 letter from PBGC to Ronald indicated that, as of July 31, 2009, Ronald's current monthly benefit of $5,298.64 would be reduced to an estimated monthly benefit of $3,909.37. The letter also explained that the monthly surviving spouse benefit was estimated to be $2,541.09 upon Ronald's death and, if Linda predeceased Ronald, Ronald's monthly benefit would increase by $163.87.
[¶6] On December 14, 2009, the trial court issued an order dissolving the marriage and indicating that the remaining issues would be resolved in a bifurcated final hearing. On May 28, 2010, following a March 2010 hearing, the trial court issued a final dissolution order. It explained that, during the course of the proceedings, neither party obeyed the trial court's orders to pay child support for Kelsey. The trial court subtracted the amount Ronald owed from the amount Linda owed, which left Linda an outstanding balance of $2,310.00. The trial court then subtracted that amount from Linda's share of the marital estate. Regarding uninsured medical expenses for Kelsey, Ronald was required to pay the first 6%, and the balance was to be split between the parties, with Ronald paying 77% and Linda paying 23%.
[¶7] The trial court found " that an equal division of the marital property between the parties is just and reasonable. To divide the marital property, [Linda] is awarded a judgment against [Ronald] in the amount of $48,705.55." Appellant's App. p. 30. In its division of property, the trial court awarded Linda a Solidarity checking account and Ronald various Key Bank accounts. The trial court ordered Ronald " to pay a portion of [Linda's] attorney fees in the amount of $4,000.00 within forty five (45) days." Id.
[¶8] The trial court found that Linda was " entitled to one half of the value of the pension based upon the coveture [sic] fraction formula." Id. A pension analysis prepared by the parties valued the marital property portion of Ronald's $771,923.28 pension at $283,182.97. The trial court required Linda's attorney to prepare any documents necessary to carry out the order. The trial court also denied Linda's " motion to require [Ronald] to execute a surviving spouse option." Id. ...