Challenging Your Divorce Decree By a Motion to Correct Error, Appeal, Or Trial Rule

A divorce is often a lengthy, emotional, and expensive matter that is a complex legal
transaction. What if the final order issued at the end of the trial does not divide certain property,
involves a misapplication of the law, or is a product of fraud? While final judgments are subject
to the rule of finality—that a final judgment should not be set aside except in extraordinary
circumstances—Indiana has a legal framework, particularly Indiana Rule of Trial Procedure 60(B),
that offers relief in a few circumstances after the right to file a Motion to Correct Error1 and/or to
appeal to a higher court passes. This blog surveys the ways to challenge a final judgment.

Normally, if a mistake is spotted in the divorce decree when it is entered,
the immediate course of corrective action is the filing of a Motion to Correct Error and/or appeal
to the Indiana Court of Appeals. This must be done within thirty (30) days of issuance of the final
order, or it is time barred. Simply put, the Court of Appeals does not accept belated (untimely)
civil appeals. However, there are situations where an erroneous final order only comes to light
much later. In such cases, Indiana's Rule of Trial Procedure 60(B) may provide an avenue for
challenging, and potentially setting aside, the decree of dissolution of marriage, or any final order
as to all issues in a civil case.

Trial Rule 60(B) is designed to ensure due process and fundamental fairness in legal
proceedings. It allows for challenging a decree to correct certain errors under specific
circumstances. However, its application is narrow and requires a clear identification of the issue
and a valid legal basis for relief under Trial Rule 60(B). The following are situations where a Trial
Rule 60(B) motion might apply:

Personal Property: If the decree fails to address all personal property, like a third vehicle
owned by the parties, it could be rectified using Trial Rule 60(B). However, this rule might
not apply if the omission was due to a poor presentation of evidence (or lack of any
evidence) during the divorce proceedings.

Real Property: Problems related to real property, such as omitted houses or
unaddressed/hidden rental incomes, might emerge later. In such cases, if these issues were
not discoverable in time for an appeal or were misrepresented, a Trial Rule 60(B) motion
could be a viable solution.

Child-Related Issues: If it is later discovered that a spouse fraudulently misrepresented
income for child support calculations, and modification statutes do not offer a remedy,
Trial Rule 60(B) could be considered.

If there are significant errors in your divorce decree and other legal remedies are not viable
legal avenues for relief, a Trial Rule 60(B) motion should be considered. This rule is technical,
and its applicability is limited. If you are facing issues with your divorce decree and need to explore
your options, such as Trial Rule 60(B) relief, Ciyou & Associates, P.C. has significant experience
with this relief and can provide the necessary guidance for you. This blog is authored by the
advocates at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. This blog serves as general information and is not intended
as legal advice or a solicitation for services.


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