Danny L. Young, Appellant-Respondent,
Lu Ann S. Young, Appellee-Petitioner
from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable David J. Dreyer,
Judge Trial Court Cause Nos. 49D10-1506-DR-17889
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT R. Lee Money Greenwood, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Monty K. Woolsey Andrew R. Bloch
Cross, Pennamped, Woolsey & Glazier, P.C. Carmel, Indiana
Lu Ann Young ("Lu Ann") sought and obtained a
modification of a protective order in her favor against her
ex-husband, Danny Young ("Danny"), in Marion
Superior Court. From this and collateral rulings, Danny now
We reverse in part and remand.
and Procedural Posture
Danny and Lu Ann were married in 1997. On June 1, 2015, Lu
Ann filed for divorce. Less than two months later, on July
29, 2015, Lu Ann sought and obtained a protective order in
her favor against Danny ("the Protective
Order"). On November 20, 2015, Danny and Lu Ann
submitted a dissolution settlement agreement for the trial
court's approval ("the Agreement"). The
Agreement memorialized an agreed modification to the
Protective Order whereby Danny could continue to attend
services at his and Lu Ann's church "as long as he
d[id] not harass, annoy, intimidate or attempt to directly
communicate with [Lu Ann] during times they [were] both at
the Church." Appellant's App. p. 11. The same day,
November 20, 2015, the trial court issued a dissolution
decree that incorporated the Agreement in full. Id.
Almost immediately thereafter, Danny began to harass, annoy,
and intimidate Lu Ann at church. Accordingly, on February 19,
2016, Lu Ann petitioned to have the Protective Order modified
to prevent further harassment. At a modification hearing on
April 28, 2016, the court heard the testimony of Lu Ann and
several church members in Lu Ann's favor; Danny testified
on his own behalf without support. On May 23, 2016, the trial
court entered an order finding that Danny had violated the
Protective Order, modifying the Protective Order "so
that [Danny] will not come within 100 feet of [Lu Ann] at all
times he attends the church, whether intentional[ly] or
unintentional[ly], " and awarding Lu Ann attorney's
fees. Id. at 16.
Danny timely appealed. After the appeal was perfected, on
August 19, 2016, the trial court entered two further orders:
one awarding Lu Ann appellate attorney's fees, and
another "revok[ing]" the "prior
modification" of the Protective Order and
"reinstat[ing] in full with no limitations" the
Protective Order as initially issued. Id. at 18.
Danny presents the following restated issues for our review:
(1) whether the trial court had jurisdiction over the subject
matter of its August 19, 2016, orders modifying the
Protective Order and awarding Lu Ann appellate attorney's
fees; (2) whether sufficient evidence supported the trial
court's May 23, 2016, finding that Danny violated the
Protective Order; (3) whether the May 23, 2016, modification
of the Protective Order was appropriate absent the entry of
special findings; (4) and whether the Agreement precluded
award of attorney's fees to Lu Ann.
Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter of the August 19, 2016,
Subject matter jurisdiction is the power to hear and decide
the general class of actions to which a case belongs.
K.S. v. State, 849 N.E.2d 538, 540 (Ind. 2006). The
court on appeal acquires jurisdiction over a case when the
notice of completion of clerk's record is entered in the
chronological case summary ("CSS"). Ind. Appellate
Rule 8; Falatovics v. Falatovics, 72 N.E.3d 472, 475
(Ind.Ct.App. 2017). When the court on appeal acquires
jurisdiction, the court below loses it for most purposes.
Falatovics, 72 N.E.3d at 479. A judicial act
rendered without jurisdiction is void and without effect.
Thomas v. Smith, 794 N.E.2d 500, 503 (Ind.Ct.App.
2003), trans. denied. We review purely legal
jurisdictional questions de novo. Id.
Protective Order Modification
In this case, the notice of completion of clerk's record
was entered in the CCS on July 21, 2016. We acquired
jurisdiction on that date. On August 19, 2016, the trial
court entered an order "that the prior modification of
the Protective Order allowing [Danny] to attend the [church]
when [Lu Ann] was present is revoked and the prior Protective
Order is reinstated in full with no limitations."
Appellant's App. p. 18. The order was not entered in the
CCS. See id. at 39.
Both parties concede this order was rendered without
jurisdiction and is therefore void. We agree. The trial
court's August 19, 2016, order as to the Protective Order
modification is void and of no force or effect.
Award of Appellate Attorney's Fees
Also on August 19, 2016, the trial court entered an order
awarding Lu Ann appellate attorney's fees. In family law
cases, trial courts retain jurisdiction to award
attorney's fees, including appellate attorney's fees,
even after perfection of an appeal. J.S. v. W.K., 62
N.E.3d 1, 11 n.7 (Ind.Ct.App. 2016); Thompson v.
Thompson, 811 N.E.2d 888, 929 (Ind.Ct.App. 2004),
trans. denied; Pierce v. Pierce, 702 N.E.2d
765, 769 (Ind.Ct.App. 1998), trans. denied;
see Ind. Code § 31-15-10-1(a) (in dissolution
actions, permitting award of reasonable fee "after entry
of judgment"). Thus, the trial court had jurisdiction to
award Lu Ann appellate attorney's fees on August 19,
We consider the propriety of the award below.
Sufficient Evidence Supported the Finding That Danny Violated
the Protective Order
When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence supporting
modification of a protective order, our standard is familiar.
We neither reweigh the evidence nor assess witness
credibility. A.G. v. P.G., 974 N.E.2d 598, 598
(Ind.Ct.App. 2012). Considering only the probative evidence
and reasonable inferences therefrom in support of
modification, we ask whether a reasonable fact-finder could
have found the petitioner's allegations proved by a
preponderance of the evidence. Id. at 598-99. Here,
Lu Ann alleged, and the trial court found, that Danny
harassed, annoyed, and intimidated Lu Ann at ...