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Sanders v. Sanders

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 25, 2018

Linda Sanders, Appellant/Petitioner,
v.
Jerad Sanders, Appellee/Respondent.

          Appeal from the Marshall Circuit Court The Honorable Robert O. Bowen, Special Judge Trial Court Cause No. 50C01-1404-DR-90

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Timothy Logan Benson, Pantello, Morris, James & Logan, LLP Fort Wayne, Indiana.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE David W. Stone IV Stone Law Office & Legal Research Anderson, Indiana Joanne M. Kolbe Law Offices of Joanne M. Kolbe Warsaw, Indiana.

          BRADFORD, JUDGE.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Linda Sanders ("Wife") and Jerad Sanders ("Husband") married in 1998, and, in 2014, Wife petitioned to dissolve the marriage. At a final hearing in January of 2017, the terms of a property settlement ("the Agreement") were read into the record, after which both parties agreed to them. The trial court granted Wife's dissolution petition that day and directed the preparation of a dissolution order that incorporated the terms of the Agreement. Approximately one month later, Wife moved to repudiate the settlement, which motion the trial court denied. Wife moved to correct error and for relief from judgment. Wife's motion to correct error was ultimately deemed denied by operation of rule, and the trial court did not grant her relief from judgment. Wife challenges both the denial of the motion to correct error and the failure to grant relief from judgment, contending that the Agreement was invalid because it was not submitted in writing or signed before the trial court's approval, that she timely repudiated it, and the trial court failed to explicitly find that the Agreement was just and reasonable. Finding no merit in Wife's contentions, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On April 25, 2014, Wife petitioned to dissolve her marriage to Husband, to whom she had been married since 1998. On January 9, 2017, a final hearing was held, at which the terms of the Agreement were read in open court:

[Wife's counsel]: Well, yes. Essentially, um, the parties are going to keep all property present in their possession. The real estate is going to be the property of the husband. The husband is going to transfer, I think, by way of QDRO or transference $30, 000 from an IRA into my client's name. Ah, he's going to give her $5, 000 cash-and when is that payable- when can you get that?
[Husband's counsel]: He had asked for six (6) months.
[Wife's counsel]: Okay. Six (6) months. Okay. Ah, the parties are going to be responsible for the debt in their individual name. I don't believe there's any joint debt.
[Husband's counsel]: Is the mortgage just in your name?
[Husband]: Yeah.
[Wife's counsel]: Okay. The mortgage-maybe-
[Husband's counsel]: I think you're right.
[Wife's counsel]: -we can recite that out in the decree. I think we know what the debts are. We can just put that-
[Husband's counsel]: Yes.
[Wife's counsel]: -in the decree.
[Husband's counsel]: But I think that's correct.
[Wife's counsel]: Okay. Ah, essentially then-in terms of personal property, there's still a number of items that are still at the house that my client would like to retrieve. Those are the items that she owned prior to the parties' marriage. I think there's like cast iron tub, her personal effects, some Christmas decorations, that type of thing, bed, dresser, that sort of stuff. She'd like to go ahead and keep all that. I think the parties know what's what or what's-whose is whose and so I don't think there's going to be any issue with that. It's just a matter of you being able to get some kind of truck to get over there and get it out. Right?
[Wife]: Uh-huh and some help.

Tr. Vol. II pp. 4-5.

         [¶3] The following discussion also occurred:

THE COURT: You heard Mr. Black recite what is the purported agreement between you and Jerad concerning the disposition of all ...

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