Sunday, March 18, 2007

Property Division - What Date Does the Court Use for Valuing Property

I guess I could write that it depends on what panel of our Court of Appeals one gets when appealing the divorce.

Generally, the marital pot closes on the day the petition for dissolution is filed.
Sanjari v. Sanjari, 755 N.E.2d 1186, 1192 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001). The date of filing is
defined by statute as the date of "final separation." Ind. Code § 31-9-2-46. Some earlier panels of this court appear to have identified marital property subject to division in dissolution proceedings as of the date of dissolution. See Wyzard v. Wyzard, 771 N.E.2d 754, 757 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002) (referring to husband's entitlement to vested pension benefits "at the time of the dissolution order" when reviewing the trial court' valuation of the pension); Skinner v. Skinner, 644 N.E.2d 141,146 (Ind. Ct. App. 1994) (holding that "at the time of dissolution, the unvested portion of a pension plan that is only partially vested is not divisible marital property[;]" equating "date of dissolution" with date of "final separation"); In re Marriage of Hughes, 601 N.E.2d 381, 383 (Ind. Ct. App. 1992), (holding husband's early retirement supplement "is a pension or retirement benefit which, at the time of the dissolution, [husband] had a right to receive and which would not be forfeited upon termination of his employment."), trans. denied. However, Indiana Code Section 31-15-7-4(a)(2)(B) provides that only property acquired by either or both parties before the date of final separation is marital property subject to division in dissolution proceedings. Thus, the determinative date when identifying marital property subject to division is the date of final separation, in other words, the date the petition for dissolution was filed.
Granzow v. Granzow (Indiana Court of Appeals, 2006) (that opinion is in PDF format).

I think Granzow does a better job of setting the finish line for marital property.

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