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Gill v. Gill

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 22, 2017

Lisa Gill, Appellant-Petitioner,
v.
Jeffery B. Gill, Appellee-Respondent. In Re the Marriage Of: Jasen Simcox, Appellant-Respondent,
v.
Amy S. (Simcox) Likes, Appellee-Petitioner. Paul King, Appellant-Petitioner,
v.
Jennifer Devine, Appellee-Respondent.

         Appeal from the Elkhart Superior Court The Honorable Stephen R. Bowers, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 20D02-1002-DR-23

         Appeal from the Kosciusko Circuit Court The Honorable David C. Cates, Special Judge Trial Court Cause No. 43C01-9808-JP-576

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Cynthia J. Ayers, Judge The Honorable Mark F. Renner, Magistrate Trial Court Cause No. 49D04-9909-DR-1262

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS Bryan L. Ciyou Darlene R. Seymour Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS Bryan L. Ciyou Darlene R. Seymour Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. Indianapolis, Indiana

          Bradford, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] This consolidated appeal involves three separate challenges to the constitutionality of statutory authority which authorizes a trial court to order a divorced parent to contribute to his or her child's post-secondary educational expenses. On appeal, Appellant-Petitioner Lisa Gill, Appellant-Respondent Jasen Simcox, and Appellant-Petitioner Paul King (collectively, "the Appellants") contend that such statutory authority is unconstitutional for two reasons: (1) the statute violates a divorced parent's equal protection right as it places the divorced parent in a different position than married parents and (2) the statute interferes with a parent's fundamental right to determine his or her child's upbringing and education.

         [¶2] On cross-appeal, Appellee-Petitioner Amy S. Likes contends that the trial court abused its discretion by (1) crediting Jasen Simcox for certain nonconforming child support payments and (2) basing Jasen Simcox's post-secondary education obligation on the cost of a public university rather than the cost of the private university that their daughter attends.

         [¶3] Upon review, we conclude that the Indiana Supreme Court has clearly held that statutory authority allowing a trial court to order a divorced parent to contribute to his child's post-secondary educational expenses is constitutional. As for the issues presented on cross-appeal, we find no abuse of discretion by the trial court. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial courts in each of the individual matters.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶4] The instant matter is a consolidated appeal from three separate trial court judgments. The facts in each individual manner are largely undisputed and are set forth below.

         I. Gill v. Gill

         [¶5] Lisa Gill was previously married to Appellee-Respondent Jeffrey B. Gill. Their marriage was dissolved by order of the Elkhart Superior Court on June 22, 2011. Two children, Au.G. and Ad.G., were born of the parties' marriage. Au.G. began attending Indiana University South Bend ("IUSB") in September of 2013. Ad.G. planned to attend college at either Indiana University, Ball State University, Purdue University, Indiana State University, or IUPUI.

         [¶6] On December 2, 2013, Jeffrey Gill filed his verified petition for a post- secondary educational expense order. Lisa Gill objected to this petition on January 9, 2015. Following a January 15, 2015 evidentiary hearing, the Elkhart Superior Court issued an order finding Lisa Gill responsible for a portion of her children's post-secondary educational expenses.

         II. Simcox v. Likes

         [¶7] Jasen Simcox was previously married to Amy Likes. Their marriage was dissolved by order of the Kosciusko Circuit Court in December of 1998. One child, T.S., was born of the parties' marriage. During the 2015-2016 academic year, ...


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