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M.L.S. argued because her consents granted first weren't withdrawn by the court, they should remain in effect and any other consent is void.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
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

ADVERTISEMENT