from the Putnam Superior Court The Honorable Charles D.
Bridges, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 67D01-1309-DR-164.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Dylan A. Vigh Law Offices of Dylan A.
Vigh, LLC Indianapolis, Indiana.
Caleb Riggen ("Father") and Tammy Riggen
("Mother") were once married, and have one child
between them ("Child"). After the marriage was
dissolved, Father petitioned to modify custody of Child. The
trial court initially granted Father's petition.
Subsequently, the trial court granted Mother's motion to
correct error, thereby denying Father's petition. Father
now appeals, raising two issues, which we consolidate and
restate as whether the trial court abused its discretion in
granting Mother's motion to correct error.
We reverse and remand with instructions.
and Procedural History
In 2014, Father's and Mother's marriage was
dissolved, with Mother having physical custody of Child.
Father later petitioned to modify custody. The trial court
held a hearing on Father's petition, during which it
heard testimony from Child's guardian ad litem (the
"GAL") and took judicial notice of the GAL's
report. On February 16, 2016, the trial court granted
On March 2, 2016, Mother filed a motion to correct error and
to stay the order. Mother alleged that the trial court erred
in making its findings, and contended that there was
insufficient evidence supporting the order. Mother also
argued that "the GAL's report was so flawed it
should carry little if any weight" (App. Vol. II at 30),
and suggested that the GAL further investigate.
The trial court entered a stay of its order, set a hearing on
Mother's motion to correct error, and requested that the
GAL conduct further investigation. The GAL complied and filed
a supplemental report, after which the trial court held a
hearing on Mother's motion. Following the hearing, the
trial court entered an order granting Mother's motion and
denying Father's petition. The order did not provide a
reason for granting Mother's motion.
This appeal ensued.
At the outset, we note that Mother has not filed a brief.
When an appellee fails to submit a brief, we need not
undertake the burden of developing an argument on the
appellee's behalf. Front Row Motors, LLC v.
Jones, 5 N.E.3d 753, 758 (Ind. 2014). Instead, "we
will reverse the trial court's judgment if the
appellant's brief presents a case of prima facie
error." Trinity Homes, LLC v. Fang, 848 N.E.2d
1065, 1068 (Ind. 2006). Prima facie error in this context is
defined as, "at first sight, on first appearance, or on
the face of it." Id. (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted).
Father appeals from the grant of Mother's motion to
correct error. We review a trial court's ruling on a
motion to correct error for an abuse of discretion.
Santelli v. Rahmatullah, 993 N.E.2d 167, 173 (Ind.
2013). In so doing, we afford the trial court's decision
"a strong presumption of correctness." Id.
(internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Walker v.
Pullen, 943 N.E.2d 349, 351 (Ind. 2011)). However, by
granting Mother's motion to correct error, the trial
court effectively ...