ILNews

Adoption statute allows for subsequent consents

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The statutes governing adoption and public policy don't prohibit the execution of subsequent adoption consents, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In In the matter of the adoption of A.S., D.S., C.S., and J.S., minor children, by next friend M.L.S., No. 49A02-0901-CV-60, M.L.S. appealed the probate court's ruling denying her petition to adopt A.S., D.S., C.S., and J.S., and the grant of the petitions by V.S. and L.S. to adopt the children. Except for J.S., V.S. and L.S. had been granted consents to adopt the children after consent was already given to M.L.S. When the adoptions were granted, consents had been granted to M.L.S., V.S., and L.S.

M.L.S. argued because her consents granted first weren't withdrawn by the court, they should remain in effect and any other consent is void. But there's no basis in the adoption code for holding that all subsequent consents are void, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik. In addition, allowing competing petitions and subsequent consents gives a probate court a choice between two families to decide if placement with one of them is in the child's best interest. It also avoids a race to obtain parental consent and allows biological parents whose rights haven't been terminated yet and the county Department of Child Services to address changing circumstances.

It was changing circumstances that led to consents being granted to V.S. and L.S. to adopt the children. After the parents and Marion County DCS consented to M.L.S. adopting the children, but before a hearing was held, MCDCS received a report that M.L.S.'s three adopted children were inappropriately touching A.S., D.S., C.S., and J.S. This led to them being removed from the home and placed with V.S., and L.S., a mother and adult-daughter who lived together in the same home.

M.L.S. also argued on appeal that the probate court erred by issuing an adoption decree when the previous judge who heard all the evidence died before issuing a final ruling. The appellate court determined M.L.S. waived this argument because there's no indication in the record she objected to the authority of the new judge to issue the final adoption decree based on the evidence.

The appellate court also ruled the adoption decree was adequate. M.L.S. claimed the probate court erroneously adopted the cross-petitioner's proposed findings verbatim and the court erred in finding the criminal matter involving M.L.S.'s son was still open at the time of the decree. Adopting findings verbatim isn't prohibited, wrote Judge Vaidik; the court did err in finding the case against the son remained open at the time of the ruling because it had been dismissed prior to the ruling. This doesn't justify a new trial because other evidence shows the children up for adoption were allegedly abused by other children in the home and placement with V.S. and L.S. was in the children's best interest.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

ADVERTISEMENT