Citations Affected: IC 31-11; IC 34-6; IC 34-57.
Synopsis: Arbitration in family law. Requires arbitration in family law
arbitration cases to be irrevocable. Provides the procedures for family
law arbitration cases.
Effective: July 1, 2004.
January 13, 2004, read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary.
January 29, 2004, amended, reported _ Do Pass.
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning civil
law and procedure.
Supreme Court Rules for Alternative Dispute Resolution; or
(3) an individual who is a former magistrate or commissioner of an Indiana court of record.
(2) custody, if there is a child of both parties to the marriage;
(3) parenting time, if there is a child of both parties to the marriage; or
(4) any other matter over which a trial court would have jurisdiction concerning family law.
Sec. 2. Unless both parties agree in writing to repudiate the agreement, an agreement to submit to arbitration by a family law arbitrator under this chapter is:
(2) irrevocable; and
until the award is entered in the matter in which arbitration has taken place.
Sec. 3. For arbitration to take place under this chapter, at least one (1) of the parties must have been:
(1) a resident of Indiana; or
(2) stationed at a United States military installation within Indiana;
for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of the petition or action.
Sec. 4. A family law arbitrator shall comply with the:
(1) child support; and
(2) parenting time;
guidelines adopted by the supreme court in family law arbitration if there is a child of both parties to the marriage.
Sec. 5. (a) A record of the proceeding in family law arbitration may be requested by either party if written notice is given to the family law arbitrator within fifteen (15) days after the family law arbitrator has been selected.
(b) Written notice under subsection (a) must specify the requested manner of recording and preserving the transcript.
(c) The family law arbitrator may select a person to record any proceedings and to administer oaths.
Sec. 6. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), at the conclusion of a family law arbitration case, the family law arbitrator shall make written findings of fact and conclusions of law not later than thirty (30) days after the hearing.
(b) If the parties consent, the period for the family law arbitrator to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law may be extended to ninety (90) days after the hearing.
(c) The family law arbitrator shall send a copy of the written
findings of fact and conclusions of law to:
(1) all parties participating in the arbitration; and
(2) the court.
(d) After the court has received a copy of the findings of fact and conclusions of law, the court shall enter:
(1) judgment; and
(2) an order for an entry on the docket regarding the judgment.
Sec. 7. In a dissolution of marriage case, the family law arbitrator shall:
(1) divide the property of the parties, regardless of whether the property was:
(A) owned by either spouse before the marriage;
(B) acquired by either spouse in his or her own right:
(i) after the marriage; and
(ii) before final separation of the parties; or
(C) acquired by their joint efforts; and
(2) divide the property in a just and reasonable manner by:
(A) division of the property in kind;
(B) setting the property or parts of the property over to one (1) of the spouses and requiring either spouse to pay an amount, either in gross or in installments, that is just and proper;
(C) ordering the sale of the property under the conditions the family law arbitrator prescribes and dividing the proceeds of the sale; or
(D) ordering the distribution of benefits described in IC 31-9-2-98(b)(2) or IC 31-9-2-98(b)(3) that are payable after the dissolution of marriage, by setting aside to either of the parties a percentage of those payments either by assignment or in kind at the time of receipt.
Sec. 8. In a dissolution of marriage case, at least sixty (60) days after the petition or action is filed, the family law arbitrator may enter a summary dissolution decree without holding a hearing if verified pleadings have been filed with the family law arbitrator, signed by both parties, containing:
(1) a written waiver of hearing; and
(A) a statement that there are no contested issues in the action; or
(B) a written agreement made in accordance with IC 31-15-2-7 that settles any contested issues between the
Sec. 9. A family law arbitrator may modify an award after making written findings of fact and conclusions of law if:
(1) a party makes a fraudulent misrepresentation during the arbitration;
(2) the family law arbitrator is ordered to modify the award on remand; or
(3) the parties consent to the modification.
Sec. 10. An appeal may be taken at the conclusion of a family law arbitration following the entry of judgment in the case as judgments in a civil action.
Sec. 11. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), fees for the family law arbitrator shall be shared equally by both parties unless otherwise agreed in writing.
(b) The family law arbitrator may order a party to pay a reasonable amount for the cost to the other party of maintaining or defending any proceeding under this chapter and for attorney's fees, including amounts for legal services provided and costs incurred before the commencement of the proceedings or after entry of judgment.
(c) Fees for the family law arbitrator shall be paid not later than thirty (30) days after the arbitration judgment is filed with the court.
Sec. 12. The Indiana Supreme Court Rules for Alternative Dispute Resolution apply to family law arbitration in all matters not covered by this chapter.