Celene I. Bock, Appellant-Petitioner,
Dale F. Bock, Appellee-Respondent
from the Lake Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
45D03-1512-DR-849 The Honorable Elizabeth F. Tavitas, Judge,
The Honorable Thomas P. Hallett, Magistrate judge
Attorneys for Appellant George S. Brasovan Law Office of
George S. Brasovan, P.C. Merrillville, Indiana Renee M.
Ortega ROK Legal Group, LLC Crown Point, Indiana
Attorney for Appellee George R. Livarchik Livarchik &
Farahmand Chesterton, Indiana
I. Bock ("Wife") appeals the trial court's
division of property in proceedings dissolving her marriage
to Dale F. Bock ("Husband"). She alleges that the
trial court erred in including as a marital asset her
survivor benefit from Husband's pension. She also
challenges the valuation of the survivor benefit as well as
the trial court's equal division of the marital estate.
Finding that Wife's survivor benefit was properly
included and valued and that the trial court acted within its
discretion in equally dividing the marital estate, we affirm.
and Procedural History 
Husband and Wife married in August 1985 and separated in
December 2015. Before the marriage and until his 2005
retirement, Husband was employed at the Lake County
Sheriff's Department. He had accrued ten years of service
on his Sheriff's Department pension prior to the marriage
and began taking disbursements in 2005. He made an election
for Wife to receive a survivor benefit ("SBP")
under the pension plan, and the election was irrevocable once
he began taking disbursements. The SBP election resulted in a
lower monthly disbursement under the plan.
In December 2015, Wife filed a verified petition for marital
dissolution. The trial court conducted hearings on three
different dates, the last of which was March 1, 2017, and the
parties waived the time limit for issuance of the dissolution
decree. Three weeks later, Wife filed a motion to re-open her
case in chief, and following a hearing, the trial court
granted Wife's motion and permitted her to submit
additional evidence concerning the value of Husband's
In April 2017, Wife sought and was granted permission to file
a pension evaluation and analysis. Both parties filed
proposed dissolution decrees, with Wife seeking to exclude
her SBP from the marital estate and requesting fifty-eight
percent of the marital estate and Husband seeking the
pre-coverture portion of his property. Wife filed a motion to
strike Husband's amended proposed decree, which the trial
court denied. On July 20, 2017, the trial court issued its
dissolution decree with findings of fact and conclusions
thereon. The court valued Husband's pension at $460,
211.60, to be divided equally pursuant to its finding that
the parties had failed to prove any grounds for deviating
from the statutory fifty/fifty presumptive split. The court
included as marital property Wife's SBP, valued at $83,
401, and awarded it to her as part of the property division.
Both parties filed motions to correct error, and Husband
sought clarification and correction of a clerical error in
the trial court's decree and a stay of execution. The
court corrected a clerical error in paragraph
of its order and otherwise denied Husband's motions. Wife
withdrew her assertion of error related to paragraph 15, and
the court denied the balance of her motion to correct error.
Wife now appeals. Additional facts will be provided as
and Decision Section
- The trial court did not err in including Wife's SBP
interest in the marital estate.
Wife contends that the trial court erred in including the SBP
in the marital estate. Where, as here, the trial court enters
findings of fact and conclusions sua sponte, the specific
findings control only with respect to the issues they cover,
and we apply a general judgment standard to all issues on
which there are no findings. In re Marriage of
Sutton, 16 N.E.3d 481, 484-85 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014). The
findings or judgment will be set aside only if they are
clearly erroneous, meaning that there are no facts or
inferences drawn therefrom to support them. Id. at
Wife admits that, "[u]pon analysis, the [SBP] is vested
and is a marital asset." Appellant's Br. at 15.
Notwithstanding, she claims that it should have been excluded
from the marital pot.
It is well settled that in a dissolution action, all marital
property goes into the marital pot for division, whether it
was owned by either spouse before the marriage, acquired by
either spouse after the marriage and before final separation
of the parties, or acquired by their joint efforts. Ind. Code
§ 31-15-7-4(a). For purposes of dissolution, property
means "all the assets of either party or both
parties." Ind. Code § 31-9-2-98 (emphasis added).
The requirement that all marital assets be placed in the
marital pot is meant to insure that the trial court first
determines that value before endeavoring to divide property.
Indiana's "one pot" theory prohibits the
exclusion of any asset in which a party has a vested interest
from the scope of the trial court's power to divide and
award. While the trial court may decide to award a particular
asset solely to one spouse as part of its just and reasonable
property division, it must first include the asset in its
consideration of the marital estate to be divided.
Falatovics v. Falatovics, 15 N.E.3d 108, 110
(Ind.Ct.App. 2014) (citations and quotation ...