Patricia J. Smith, Appellant-Respondent,
Christopher M. Smith, Appellee-Petitioner.
from the Tipton Circuit Court The Honorable Thomas R. Lett,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 80C01-1409-DR-290
Attorney for Appellant Joel K. Stein Lynn and Stein, P.C.
Attorneys for Appellee Katherine A. Harmon Jared S. Sunday
Mallor Grodner, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana
Patricia Smith ("Wife") appeals the Tipton Circuit
Court's dissolution order dividing the parties'
marital estate. Specifically, she raises four issues, which
we consolidate and restate as:
I. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it
denied Wife's motion to continue the final hearing,
II. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it
awarded approximately seventy-five percent of the marital
estate to Christopher Smith ("Husband"), and,
III. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it
assigned any net carryover losses to Husband to offset future
We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
and Procedural History
Husband and Wife were married in October 2009. Husband is a
PGA golfer, and both parties brought significant assets to
the marriage. The parties resided in Husband's residence,
which he owned prior to the marriage. Husband owned a
residence, PGA pension accounts, and approximately $1, 700,
000 in additional assets on the date the parties were
married. Wife had assets prior to the marriage in the form of
stocks, retirement accounts, insurance policies, and luxury
vehicles. These assets were sold during the marriage for
approximately $900, 000.
During the marriage, the parties spent nearly $500, 000 to
renovate and remodel the marital residence. The parties also
had no income during certain periods of their marriage.
The parties owned two businesses: SmartView Imaging and One
Five Group. The parties invested approximately $450, 000 in
SmartView Imaging. The business was not successful. One Five
Group was formed to manage Husband's golf career.
Husband's golf career was not profitable during the
course of the marriage.
On the date the marriage ended, the parties had significant
credit card debt, a home-equity line of credit, and loans
totaling over $350, 000. The only remaining assets with
significant value were the marital residence and
Husband's PGA retirement account. Husband also had an
unvested pension with the PGA.
Husband filed a petition to dissolve the parties'
marriage on September 8, 2014, and Wife filed a
counter-petition on December 5, 2014. During the dissolution
proceedings, Wife filed seven motions to continue the final
hearing, and six of those were filed after August 2016.
Husband objected to several of the requests to continue,
including the last two motions.
The final hearing was ultimately set for February 15,
2018. Two weeks prior to the final hearing,
Wife's attorney filed a motion to withdraw his
appearance, which the trial court granted. Wife attempted to
find a new attorney but was not successful. She filed her
seventh motion to continue the final hearing so that she
would have more time to find a new attorney. Husband objected
to the motion, and Wife's motion was denied on February
9, 2018. Wife appeared without counsel at the February 15,
2018 final hearing.
On August 23, 2018, the trial court issued findings of fact
and conclusions of law dividing the marital estate. In
pertinent part, the trial court found:
11. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the
property, regardless of whether the contribution was income
producing favors a balancing of the factors in favor of
12. The extent to which the property was acquired by each
spouse prior to the marriage or through inheritance or gift
favors a balancing of the factors in favor of Husband, as
does the conduct of the Parties during the marriage as
related to the disposition or dissipation of their
13. At the time of the parties' marriage, Husband owned
the home located at 208 South Bellerive in Peru Indiana, as
well as the property located at 8250 West Blair Pike in Peru
Indiana. Husband owned the Bellerive property with his
deceased wife and owned the Blair Pike property in his
14. Per John Oldfather, appraiser, the value of the Bellerive
property did not vary significantly from the time the parties
were married until the time the petition for dissolution of
marriage was filed.
15. Additionally, Husband brought into the marriage
investment accounts for his children worth $617, 000. These
accounts were completely depleted during the marriage to
satisfy marital expenses and to assist Wife in starting a
company, Smartview Imaging.
16. Husband also brought into the marriage various investment
accounts, including a pension with the PGA.
17. Husband also received $504, 000 during the marriage from
the sale of a family owned business, Rock Industries.
18. Per Dick Hammond, the parties' accountant, as
illustrated in an exhibit which was submitted to the court,
Husband brought over $1.7 million into the marriage to Wife.
19. While Wife brought some money into the marriage, she did
not demonstrate to the Court the amount of the same.
20. Additionally, Wife failed to pay the car loan on the
parties' Mercedes Benz, causing Husband to be sued. She
also sold the equipment related to Smartview Imaging,
receiving $25, 000 for the same, but failed to put those
proceeds towards paying off the loan associated with the
equipment. As a result, Husband ...