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After children are grown, custodial parent still a victim of nonsupport

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The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a mother was a victim of a father who failed to pay support for his three children even years after the kids were grown.

Justices overturned a Court of Appeals ruling on Friday in Felix C. Sickels v. State of Indiana, 20S03-1206-CR-308. The Court of Appeals ruled the trial court erred in holding that the custodial parent was a victim of the non-custodial parent’s nonsupport.

“We hold that the trial court was well within its discretion to find that the custodial parent was the ‘victim,’” Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the unanimous court.

Felix Sickels had been charged in 2001 with failure to support his dependent children. He had moved to Michigan and wasn’t extradited until 2010, by which time his children were emancipated adults. He was convicted in 2011, ordered to serve 10 years through community corrections and pay the mother more than $84,000 in child-support arrearage.

Rush wrote that there were sound public policy considerations for why the custodial parent should be considered a victim, not the least of which is that directing restitution to children could create concerns about enforcement of support orders.

“We do not hold that a custodial parent whose children are now emancipated is the only possible ‘victim’ under these circumstances, but that a custodial parent is entitled to a presumption that he or she has suffered an ‘injury, harm or loss’ as a direct result of the noncustodial parent’s failure to pay child support. As a result, and barring an unusual circumstance, the custodial parent will be the recipient of criminal restitution for child-support arrearage in cases where the children have been emancipated,” Rush wrote.








 

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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