Not Error for the Trial Court to Award Statutory, Post-Judgement Interest on a $4.7 MM Cash Equalization Payment

Case: Jeffrey Crider v. Christina Crider
Case Summary by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: The trial court’s decree included a substantial cash equalization payment due from Husband to Wife, along with a prospective attorney fee award that Husband would be responsible for any attorney’s fees incurred by the Wife in the course of collecting the judgment. The prospective fee award was not improper, though any fee award remains subject to challenge by Husband for reasonableness.

HELD: It was not error for the trial court to award statutory, post-judgment interest on a $4.7MM cash equalization payment, despite Husband’s argument that interest was inequitable in light of Husband’s income and his difficulty in paying the underlying judgment.

HELD:  The trial court’s valuations were within its discretion, as they were reasoned through detailed findings and ultimately fell within the range of evidence presented.

HELD: The trial court acted within its discretion when it disregarded several promissory notes arising from loans to Husband from Husband’s father, and declined to treat them as liabilities of the marriage. The evidence presented – that no payments were ever made on the notes, or demanded by Husband’s father – supported the trial court’s conclusion that these were gifts to Husband, and not loans, regardless of the existence of a promissory note. The existence of a promissory note does not per se establish the existence of a loan.

HELD: An unusual provision in the Decree, providing for Husband’s child support payment to decrease substantially upon 90 days after the Decree was issued, was both consistent with the Guidelines and not error, in light of findings by the trial court that the delay was a recognition that Husband would be liquidating much of his income-producing assets in the months after the Decree in order to satisfy his substantial cash equalization payment to Wife.

HELD: Trial court lacked the authority to reinstate Husband’s original child support payment level after Husband failed to make his cash equalization payment because the Indiana Court of Appeals had acquired jurisdiction of the case by that time.

HELD: Trial court acted within its discretion when it awarded Wife a security interest in Husband’s business interests, even though Husband’s stock in the businesses had various transfer restrictions. However, the trial court overstepped its authority when it preauthorized an automatic transfer of ownership and control of the holdings to Wife in the event Husband failed to pay the cash equalization payment within 180 days.

The decision of the trial court was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

[This case involves a detailed and complex 57-page opinion, which does not lend itself to simplification. This opinion certainly warrants a review in its entirety.]

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Jeffrey Crider v. Christina Crider

_________________________________________________________________________________

The Indiana Family Law Update is a free service provided by the Matrimonial Law Group of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP. While significant efforts are made to ensure an accurate summary and reproduction of each opinion, readers are advised to verify all content and analysis with a traditional case law reporter before relying on the content and analysis offered here.
ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Leave a Reply