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COA Reverses Trial Court’s Provisional Order that the Marital Residence be Sold

By Michael R. Kohlhaas, Cross Glazier Reed Burroughs, PC

Rambo v. Rambo (April 25, 2022) (IMPORTANT Preliminary Order Case) HELD: Absent the agreement of both parties, a trial court’s preliminary order in a marriage dissolution action cannot order the sale of property. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY: In 2021, Husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. As part of the preliminary proceedings, Wife asked for an order that the marital residence be sold. Husband instead requested that he be given temporary, exclusive possession of the marital residence. Following the provisional hearing, the trial court ordered that the marital residence be sold. Husband filed an interlocutory appeal. The Court of Appeals noted that provisional orders are governed by Ind. Code § 31-15-4 which, in turn, specifies the type of a relief that can be granted. While “possession of property” is among them, sale of property is not. Concluding that, if the legislature had intended orders for the sale of property to be an option for preliminary relief, it would have articulated that authority, which it did not. Also, the Court of Appeals included a footnote that “[o]ur holding is limited to situations in which one or both of the parties to a dissolution action object to the sale of property. Parties are free to enter an agreed provisional order for the sale of property.” The trial court’s provisional order that the marital residence be sold was reversed.


James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Cross Glazier Reed Burroughs, PC, is the premiere boutique family law firm in the state of Indiana. Visit the firm’s website at


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