HOFFMAN, Presiding Judge.
The marriage of Tamara and Dennis Tokash was dissolved by the trial court on July 11, 1980. In dividing the marital property of the parties, the trial court ordered Dennis to pay Tamara $4,000 or transfer a Ford Bronco in question to her and to hold her harmless from certain debts owed jointly to the Hammond National Company. On November 5, 1980, Dennis filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition. When Dennis failed to comply with certain portions of the dissolution decree, Tamara sought to enforce the decree through contempt proceedings. On appeal, Dennis contends that the discharge in bankruptcy allows him to avoid these obligations and that the trial court erred in determining that his obligations to Tamara were enforceable.
The $822.50 debt to Hammond National Company and the $4,090 debt to Tamara were discharged in bankruptcy pursuant to Dennis' petition, because the debts were not support, alimony, or maintenance. However, transfer of the Bronco and Dennis' obligation to hold Tamara harmless on the Hammond National Company debt were not discharged.
The trial court at the time of the dissolution ordered Dennis to surrender the possession of the title to the Ford Bronco within 30 days or pay Tamara the sum of $4,000 in lieu of said vehicle within the same period of time. He did neither. Instead, approximately 45 days later, he filed bankruptcy, listing Tamara as an unsecured creditor for the $4,000 amount. Tamara is not entitled to the $4,000 but she is still entitled to receipt of the Bronco. This was a conveyance Dennis was ordered to make, and the trial court has the authority to enforce its orders by means of contempt proceedings. In re Perrello, (1973) 260 Ind. 26, 291 N.E.2d 698; Duemling v. Fort Wayne Community Concerts, Inc., (1963) 243 Ind. 521, 188 N.E.2d 274. The bankruptcy court had no authority over and did not address the conveyance of the Bronco. It is a valid order which still stands and which may be enforced via contempt proceedings.
Dennis claims he does not own the Bronco and that he did not own the Bronco at the time of the dissolution decree, but rather, that he transferred ownership of the vehicle to his father. Obviously, Dennis did not meet his burden of proof on lack of ownership because the trial court ordered Dennis to convey the vehicle to Tamara. Dennis did not appeal that original order, and thus he cannot argue on appeal now that he does not own the Bronco.
Dennis fails to comprehend that he is bound by the law of the case, i.e., for the purpose of determining whether he is in contempt of court it has already been determined that he is the owner of the Bronco. Even if the trial court's original judgment was erroneous, it nevertheless becomes the law of the case and thereafter binds the parties unless it is successfully challenged on appeal. Cunningham v. Hiles, (1982) Ind. App., 439 N.E.2d 669.
Much the same is true with respect to Dennis' obligation to hold Tamara harmless on the Hammond National Company debt. In Marburger v. Marburger, (1978) 175 Ind.App. 612, at 615-616, 372 N.E.2d 1250, at 1252, this Court held:
The record in this case discloses that Dennis listed Tamara as an unsecured creditor for $4,090 in his bankruptcy petition, but failed to list on the accompanying schedules his obligation to hold Tamara harmless. Therefore, that obligation is still enforceable. Tamara paid the debt to Hammond National Company and therefore, pursuant to Marburger, Dennis is obligated to reimburse her, and the trial court may use its contempt power to enforce its prior order.
The discharge of Dennis' debts by the bankruptcy court did not affect Dennis' obligation to convey the Bronco to Tamara and to hold her harmless on the debt to Hammond National Company. The trial court has the power to enforce its prior order, and therefore the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
GARRARD, J., concurs.
STATON, J., dissents with opinion.
STATON, Judge, dissenting.
I dissent. The issue presented in this appeal is simple:
From the outset of the divorce proceeding, Dennis maintained that he has no ownership rights in the Bronco, and that it is now owned by his father and sister. Eventually, Tamara agreed that Dennis did not own the Bronco, alleging that Dennis fraudulently conveyed the Bronco to his father. Tamara sought to join the father as an additional defendant and have the conveyance set aside. Curiously, the trial court denied Tamara's motion to join the father, made no finding that the conveyance was fraudulent, but found that the Bronco was marital property. From this sequence of events the majority concludes that the law of the case is that Dennis owns the Bronco. As interesting as this conclusion is, it is entirely irrelevant, because with regard to the Bronco the trial court gave Dennis the following option:
Although this Court has approved the use of alternative judgments under certain circumstances, Cox v. Schlachter (1970), 147 Ind.App. 530, 262 N.E.2d 550, 554, as a
The trial judge gave Dennis the option to discharge this particular property settlement obligation in one of two ways — by transferring the Bronco or by paying $4,000. This option belonged to Dennis and he elected to treat the obligation as a $4,000 money debt. As a property settlement obligation, this debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy. Nichols v. Hensler (7th Cir.1976), 528 F.2d 304. Dennis listed that debt in his bankruptcy petition and his discharge thereon enjoins its collection. 11 U.S.C. § 524(a)(2) (Supp.V 1981).
flies in the face of § 524(a) of the Bankruptcy Code and should be reversed. The majority's resort to contrived legal arguments is an attempt to circumvent the effect of Dennis's discharge in bankruptcy is regrettable.
Hammond National Debt
Having discovered that Dennis failed to separately list in his bankruptcy petition his obligation to hold Tamara harmless from the Hammond National debt, the majority affirms the trial court's conclusion that Dennis's discharge in bankruptcy does not prevent it from enforcing that obligation. In so doing, the majority misconstrues section 523(a)(3) of the Bankruptcy Code.
11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(3)(A) provides:
A creditor who seeks to employ this section to avoid the effect of the debtor's discharge in bankruptcy must first come forward with proof that the debt was not properly scheduled. If the creditor meets that burden, the debtor may nonetheless retain the protection of his discharge by showing that the creditor had notice or actual knowledge of the bankruptcy proceeding. Hill v. Smith (1923), 260 U.S. 592, 594-95, 43 S.Ct. 219, 219-220, 67 L.Ed. 419; In re Brown (Bkrtcy.Ohio 1982), 27 B.R. 151, 153.
Tamara never sought to have Dennis's obligation to hold her harmless declared not-dischargeable under section 523(a)(3);