from the Boone Circuit Court The Honorable J. Jeffrey Edens,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 06C01-1609-DR-587
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT James E. Ayers Wernle, Ristine &
Ayers Crawfordsville, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Ralph E. Dowling Dowling Law Office
Campbell appeals the trial court's order dissolving her
marriage to Mark Campbell. Dorothy argues that the trial
court erroneously denied her request for spousal maintenance
and erroneously valued one of the parties' assets.
Finding no error, we affirm.
Dorothy and Mark were married in 1991; no children were born
of the marriage. Both parties worked until Dorothy became
disabled in 1996. Dorothy has not worked since that time.
Mark provided the sole financial support for the couple until
Dorothy began receiving Social Security Disability (SSD)
payments in 2001. Dorothy's SSD arrearage payment was
used to buy furnishings, electronics, and appliances for the
house they built in 2001. Mark has continued to work and
earned $23.01 per hour at the time of the hearing.
In the spring of 2016, the parties separated, sold the
marital residence, and paid off marital debts. Dorothy filed
a petition for dissolution of marriage in May 2016,
requesting spousal maintenance due to her disability and an
equitable division of the marital property. The trial court
held a hearing on August 25, 2017, and issued its dissolution
decree on November 9, 2017. In the decree, the trial court
denied Dorothy's request for spousal maintenance; valued
the parties' Buick Enclave at $21, 143.00; and divided
the marital estate equally, requiring an equalization payment
from Mark to Dorothy. Dorothy filed a motion to correct error
regarding spousal maintenance and the valuation of the Buick
Enclave; the trial court denied the motion. Dorothy now
Dorothy first argues that the trial court erred by denying
her request for spousal maintenance. The trial court may
award spousal maintenance upon finding that a spouse is
incapacitated and her ability to support herself is
materially affected. Ind. Code § 31-15-7-2(1). Findings
are required by statute to support an award of incapacity
maintenance, see I.C. § 31-15-7-1, but there is
no corresponding requirement that findings be entered when
incapacity maintenance is denied. Thus, the trial court's
findings here are "special findings." Ind. Trial
Rule 52(A)(3); Cannon v. Cannon, 758 N.E.2d 524, 526
(Ind. 2001) (determining, in reviewing findings from which
trial court concluded wife was not entitled to incapacity
maintenance, that findings supporting denial would be treated
as special findings). We will not set aside special findings
unless they are clearly erroneous. Alexander v.
Alexander, 980 N.E.2d 878, 880 (Ind.Ct.App. 2012). The
weight of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses
are matters for the trial court to assess. Id.
There are two ways in which a party to a divorce may be
obligated to make spousal maintenance payments: either the
parties agree to maintenance in a negotiated settlement
agreement or the court may order maintenance payments in
limited circumstances. Palmby v. Palmby, 10 N.E.3d
580, 583 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014). One of these circumstances
occurs when the trial court finds "a spouse to be
physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the
ability of the incapacitated spouse to support himself or
herself is materially affected[.]" I.C. §
31-15-7-2(1). If the trial court makes that finding, it
may order maintenance. Id. Because such an
award is designed to help provide for the incapacitated
spouse's sustenance and support, the essential inquiry is
whether the spouse can support herself. Alexander,
980 N.E.2d at 881. An award of incapacity maintenance is
within the trial court's discretion. Barton v.
Barton, 47 N.E.3d 368, 375 (Ind.Ct.App. 2015).
It is undisputed that Dorothy was seventy-three years old at
the time of the hearing and has an eighth-grade education.
Moreover, while the parties may not agree upon her precise
diagnoses, there is no real dispute that she has had years of
serious medical problems and has been considered to be
disabled and entitled to SSD since 1997.
The trial court made the following findings regarding