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Snyder v. Snyder

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 19, 2016

Kevin L. Snyder, Appellant-Respondent,
v.
Anastasia Snyder, Appellee-Petitioner .

         Appeal from the La Porte Circuit Court The Honorable Thomas J. Alevizos, Judge The Honorable W. Jonathan Forker, Special Judge Trial Court Cause No. 46D01-1201-DR-1

          Attorneys for Appellant Kristina J. Jacobucci Nicholas T. Otis La Porte, Indiana

          Attorney for Appellee Robert A. Plantz Merrillville, Indiana

          Altice, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Kevin L. Snyder (Husband) appeals from the trial court's order dissolving his marriage to Anastasia Snyder (Wife). Concluding sua sponte that this appeal is untimely, we dismiss.

         Facts & Procedural History

         [¶2] Husband and Wife were married in 1997 and have two children together. Prior to their marriage, Husband and Wife executed an antenuptial agreement (the Agreement). On January 3, 2011, Wife filed a petition for legal separation, which was dismissed approximately one month later when Husband filed a petition for dissolution. During the pendency of the dissolution proceedings, the parties submitted an agreed order providing that the Agreement would be enforced subject to a few deletions and revisions.

         [¶3] The case proceeded to a final hearing on June 18, 2013, at which Husband and Wife disputed, among many other things, the Agreement's impact on the distribution of five antique cars, a motorcycle, and two trailers (collectively, the Vehicles), which had been acquired during the marriage and were titled in Husband's name only. Husband argued that pursuant to the language of the Agreement, the Vehicles were his separate property. Wife, on the other hand, argued that the Vehicles fell outside the Agreement's definition of separate property, and that they were therefore marital property subject to equitable distribution by the trial court. No evidence was presented at the hearing as to the valuation of the Vehicles. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court took the matter under advisement.

         [¶4] On March 30, 2015, the trial court issued its dissolution decree, which was accompanied by written findings and conclusions.[1] The court dissolved the marriage, resolved issues of custody and child support, distributed the bulk of the marital estate, and ordered Husband to pay a portion of Wife's attorney fees. The trial court also concluded that under the terms of the Agreement, the Vehicles were not Husband's separate property and were therefore marital property subject to equitable division. Because no evidence had been presented regarding the value of the Vehicles, the trial court declined to distribute them at that time. Instead, the trial court reserved that issue for a later date, pending the presentation of further evidence.

         [¶5] Husband filed what he called a "Motion to Correct Error" on April 29, 2015. Appellant's Appendix at 121. After holding a hearing, the trial court issued a written ruling on Husband's motion on September 29, 2015. In the order, the trial court clarified the effective dates of certain orders in the March 30, 2015 order, vacated a portion of that order dealing with college expenses, and denied Husband's motion in all other respects. Husband filed his Notice of Appeal on October 28, 2015, and this appeal ensued.

         Discussion & Decision

         [¶6] Although neither party presents the timeliness of Husband's appeal as an issue, this court regularly addresses such issues sua sponte. See Blinn v. Dyer, 19 N.E.3d 821, 822 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014). "Failure to timely file a notice of appeal, while not a jurisdictional matter, nevertheless forfeits the right to an appeal absent 'extraordinarily compelling reasons.'" Id. at 822. (quoting In re Adoption of O.R., 16 N.E.3d 965, 971 (Ind. 2014)); see also Ind. Appellate Rule 9(A)(5).

         [¶7] Unlike issues of timeliness, issues concerning the finality of appealed judgments are jurisdictional in nature. Ind. Appellate Rule 5; Whittington v. Magnante, 30 N.E.3d 767, 768 (Ind.Ct.App. 2015). "Whether an order is a final judgment governs the appellate courts' subject matter jurisdiction." Front Row Motors, LLC v. Jones, 5 N.E.3d 753, 757 (Ind. 2014) (citing Georgos v. Jackson, 790 N.E.2d 448, 451 (Ind. 2003)). "The lack of appellate subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time, and where the parties do not ...


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