A man who accused his ex-wife of buying a house to defraud him the money she owed him as a result of their dissolution decree has won an overturn from the Indiana Court of Appeals.
In January 2018, Tammy Ketcham was ordered by a dissolution court to make an equalization payment of $ 205,098.75 to her ex-husband, Kelly Holland, within 90 days of the order.
Tammy filed a motion to correct an error and instead of paying the amount ordered on the 90e day, used the cash allotted to him by the dissolution court to purchase real estate in Bedford for $ 200,000.
She acquired title to the property as a roommate with her then-boyfriend Jason Ketcham, who did not contribute to this purchase price. Rather, the money for the purchase consisted entirely of the proceeds of Tammy’s sale of her former property and that of Holland and the proceeds of the life insurance payment she received in the dissolution order.
Eventually, Tammy and Jason got married and ceded real estate ownership as a married couple. Over a period of approximately two years, Tammy paid only $ 5,526.87 on the amended court order of $ 200,478.96 she owed Holland.
In May 2019, Holland sued in Lawrence Circuit Court, alleging that the Ketchams had fraudulently transferred $ 200,000 in cash to the Bedford property in violation of Indiana’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.
Among other things, the court of first instance concluded that Jason was not debtor to Holland under the decree of dissolution and that Holland had “failed to fulfill its obligation to establish sufficient evidence of intent to defraud “.
But in overturning that decision, the Court of Appeal found that the supporting documents demonstrated that Tammy had a genuine intention to obstruct, delay or defraud Holland’s right to payment under the dissolution decree.
The COA found that several of the statutory and common law factors were strongly in Holland’s favor. Of these, he disagreed with the trial court’s assessment that Tammy did not retain control over the value of the $ 200,000 when she converted it from cash to equity. in the property of Bedford. She also shook her head, concluding that the decree of dissolution had just “been issued” and “had just defined matrimonial property”.
The COA concluded that Tammy’s statements in her response to Holland’s complaint demonstrated her intention to make it more difficult for Holland to recover her judgment and that she intended to withdraw or conceal the money by exempting him. legal process for Holland to get it back. .
He further concluded that “the value of the consideration received” by Tammy from Jason was not “reasonably equivalent to the value of the asset transferred” and that it was in fact a transfer of ownership between family members.
“In contrast, six factors are in Tammy’s favor, but each of those factors is mitigated because they are also consistent on these facts with a demonstration of genuine intent to defraud. Considering the strength and effect of the factors taken as a whole, we believe the evidence demonstrates a pattern of fraudulent intent on Tammy’s part, ”Justice Paul D. Mathias wrote for the COA.
Further, the COA noted that the trial court erred in rendering judgment in Jason’s favor on the grounds that he was not Holland’s debtor, given the evidence and the Holland’s civil conspiracy complaint against Jason.
“We conclude that the court of first instance retains the discretion to shape an appropriate remedy at first instance,” wrote Mathias. “We therefore refer back with instructions that the lower court issue, immediately and without delay, an injunction prohibiting the Ketchams from transferring the property of Bedford while the court determines the appropriate remedy for Holland.”
The case is Kelly Holland v. Tammy M. Ketcham and Jason W. Ketcham, 21A-CT-1708.