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Friday, October 16, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues one opinion today, re attorney's fees in a dissolution of marriage case

In Robert A. Masters v. Leah Masters, 10-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Dickson writes:

This appeal challenges an award of attorney's fees in a dissolution of marriage case by a family law arbitrator under the Family Law Arbitration Act. We affirm the fee award. * * *

In the appellate review of an award under the Family Law Arbitration Act, the proper standard of review is not the narrow, highly deferential standard prescribed by the Uniform Arbitration Act but rather the same standard of appellate review that applies to trial court decisions in marriage dissolution cases with entered findings of fact and conclusions of law—the clearly erroneous standard prescribed by Indiana Trial Rule 52(A). In this case, the family law arbitrator's award satisfies that standard. The husband has failed to establish that the award of attorney's fees is not supported by the arbitrator's findings. We are not persuaded to a firm conviction that a mistake has been made, which is required for clear error. The attorney's fees award is not clearly erroneous and the judgment entering the arbitration award is hereby affirmed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 16, 2015 11:35 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions