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Edwards v. Edwards

Court of Appeals of Indiana

August 3, 2017

Judith M. Edwards (n/k/a Judith Klemos), Appellant-Defendant,
v.
Allen O. Edwards, Deceased, Appellee-Plaintiff, and D. Juatrice Edwards, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Allen O. Edwards, Appellee-Intervenor.

         Appeal from Porter Superior Court The Honorable Katherine R. Forbes, Magistrate. The Honorable William E. Alexa, Judge. Trial Court Cause No. 64D02-1101-DR-887

          Attorney for Appellant George R. Livarchik Livarchik & Farahmand

          Attorney for Appellee Intervenor Sophia J. Arshad Arshad, Pangere and Warring, LLP

          Sharpnack, Senior Judge

         Statement of the Case

          [¶1] Judith Edwards Klemos appeals from the dissolution court's order granting D. Juatrice Edwards' "Motion to Vacate Hearing and Orders Restraining Assets." The court concluded that after the death of Allen O. Edwards, it no longer had jurisdiction over the disbursement of Allen's pension and retirement benefits, which it had previously ordered, and dismissed the temporary restraining order protecting assets, which it had entered. We reverse and remand.

         Issue

          [¶2] The dispositive issue presented in this appeal is whether the dissolution court, which had expressly retained jurisdiction, had jurisdiction over the disbursement of pension and retirement benefits after the death of one of the parties to the dissolution, and consequently erred by dismissing the temporary restraining order protecting those assets.

         Facts and Procedural History

          [¶3] Judith was married to Allen for more than twenty years prior to the entry of their Agreed Dissolution Decree, which was approved by the court on January 4, 2012. Judith appeared pro se during the proceedings, while Allen was represented by counsel. At issue here is enforcement of the award to Judith of her interest in Allen's pension and retirement benefits with John Hancock, PERF, and Valic for the coverture period, and for any appreciation in the value of her share of the accounts as of the effective date of the qualified domestic relations order ("QDRO").

         [¶4] Paragraph 9(H) is the provision of the Agreed Dissolution Decree resolving the division of the pension and retirement benefits.

[Judith] shall be sole owner of and retain her full interest in her pension with In-Pact.
The parties were married on April 29, 1989 and they separated on October 5, 2009. The parties lived together as husband and wife for 20 years and 5 months. [Judith] is entitled to one-half interest in [Edward's] pension with John Hancock, PERF, and ...

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