HOUSE BILL No. 1163
DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Citations Affected: IC 31-11-3-5; IC 34-6-2-44.7; IC 34-57-5.
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.
Second Regular Session 113th General Assembly (2004)
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HOUSE BILL No. 1163
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning civil
law and procedure.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
SOURCE: IC 31-11-3-5; (04)IN1163.1.1. -->
SECTION 1. IC 31-11-3-5 IS AMENDED TO READ AS
FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2004]: Sec. 5. (a) Parties to a
premarital agreement may contract with each other regarding the
(1) The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any
property of either or both of them whenever and wherever
acquired or located.
(2) The right to:
(J) create a security interest in;
(M) dispose of; or
(N) otherwise manage and control;
(3) The disposition of property upon:
(A) legal separation;
(B) dissolution of marriage;
(C) death; or
(D) the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event.
(4) The modification or elimination of spousal maintenance.
(5) The making of:
(A) a will;
(B) a trust; or
(C) other arrangement;
to carry out the provisions of the agreement.
(6) The ownership rights in and disposition of a death benefit
from a life insurance policy.
(7) The choice of law governing the construction of the
(8) Any other matter not in violation of public policy or a statute
imposing a criminal penalty, including the personal rights and
obligations of the parties.
(9) The agreement of the parties to submit to family law
arbitration under IC 34-57-5 for an action:
(A) for the dissolution of a marriage; and
(B) to establish:
(i) child support;
(ii) custody; or
(iii) parenting time.
(b) A premarital agreement may not adversely affect the right of a
child to support.
SOURCE: IC 34-6-2-44.7; (04)IN1163.1.2. -->
SECTION 2. IC 34-6-2-44.7 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE
AS A NEW
SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY
1, 2004]: Sec. 44.7. "Family law arbitrator", for purposes of
IC 34-57-5, means:
(1) an attorney certified as a family law specialist in Indiana
by an independent certifying organization that is approved
and monitored under Rule 30 of the Rules for Admission to
(2) a private judge qualified under Rule 1.3 of the Indiana
Supreme Court Rules for Alternative Dispute Resolution; or
(3) an individual who is a former magistrate or commissioner
of an Indiana court of record.
SOURCE: IC 34-57-5; (04)IN1163.1.3. -->
SECTION 3. IC 34-57-5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS
A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1,
Chapter 5. Family Law Arbitration
Sec. 1. (a) In an action:
(1) for the dissolution of a marriage;
(2) to establish:
(A) child support;
(B) custody; or
(C) parenting time; or
(3) to modify:
(A) a decree;
(B) a judgment; or
(C) an order;
entered under IC 31;
both parties may agree in writing to submit to arbitration by a
family law arbitrator.
(b) If parties file an agreement to submit to arbitration with a
court, the parties shall:
(1) identify an individual to serve as a family law arbitrator;
(2) indicate to the court that they have not selected an
(c) Each court shall maintain a list of attorneys who are:
(1) qualified; and
(2) willing to be appointed by the court;
to serve as a family law arbitrator.
(d) If the parties indicate that they have not selected an
arbitrator under subsection (b)(2), the court shall designate three
(3) potential arbitrators from the court's list of attorneys under
subsection (c). The party initiating the action shall strike one (1)
potential arbitrator, the other party shall strike one (1) potential
arbitrator, and the remaining potential arbitrator is the family law
arbitrator for the parties.
(e) In a dissolution of marriage case, the written agreement to
submit to arbitration must state that both parties confer
jurisdiction upon the family law arbitrator to dissolve the marriage
and to determine:
(1) child support;
(3) parenting time; or
(4) any other matter over which a trial court would have
jurisdiction concerning family law;
if there is a child of both parties to the marriage.
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
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
for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the start of the
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 entry on the docket regarding the judgment.
Sec. 7. In a dissolution of marriage case, the family law
(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
(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 arbitration under this chapter begins, 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
(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
(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 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
Sec. 12. Parties may elect family law arbitration in a premarital
agreement under IC 31-11-3.
Sec. 13. The Indiana Supreme Court Rules for Alternative
Dispute Resolution apply to family law arbitration in all matters
not covered by this chapter.