Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Property award to ex-girlfriend of longtime boyfriend affirmed

From The Indiana Lawyer:

A trial court correctly awarded certain property to a woman who filed a complaint against her longtime partner for unjust enrichment after the two broke up after a 17-year relationship, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

Jeffrey McMahel and Mary Deaton met in 1996 and shortly moved in together in McMahel’s home. They have one child together, born in 1998. During their time together, both worked, with McMahel making substantially more than Deaton. He began receiving disability toward the end of their relationship, unable to work due to his multiple sclerosis. The two moved into a house McMahel later bought in his name only and the two purchased vehicles together, went on vacation together and shared a bank account.

After they broke up in 2014, Deaton filed the complaint alleging unjust enrichment. The trial court found sufficient evidence to support an equitable clam for recovery, as McMahel would be unjustly enriched if the court took the position that Deaton had no claim to any of the assets held in McMahel’s name alone or to the growth of his asset base that occurred during their cohabitation.

Orange Circuit Judge Larry Blanton awarded certain cars or other property to Deaton, her 401(k) account, as well as a $13,102.30 equalization payment from McMahel for a total award of $54,753.32.

McMahel appealed in Jeffrey L. McMahel v. Mary A. Deaton, 59A04-1601-PL-91, asking the appellate court to reconsider its holding inBright v. Kuehl, 650 N.E.2d 311 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).

Read more here.

Cohabitation (live-ins), Property Division | Permalink


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