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COA: Court erred in not granting request for change of judge

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Indiana’s appellate court has reversed a trial court in denying a mother’s request for change of judge in a custody dispute.

In A.T. (Mother) v. G.T. (Father), No. 39A05-1107-DR-335, A.T., the mother, and G.T., the father, divorced in Trimble County, Ky., in 2009, and the father was appointed as the primary custodial parent. At some point in 2010, the family members moved to Indiana, and in February of that year, the Jefferson Superior Court issued a no-contact order based on allegations of domestic violence committed by G.T. upon A.T. The Trimble Family Court, which retained jurisdiction over the domestic issues, ordered that the mother should have temporary physical custody of the children.

The Kentucky court restored joint custody in October 2010, and the Jefferson Circuit Court eventually assumed jurisdiction in January 2011. When the mother moved from Madison, Ind., to Bloomington, Ind., the father – who had been convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery – filed a petition to modify custody. A hearing was set, and the mother filed her motion for a change of judge, which was denied.

The Court of Appeals held that the trial court should have automatically granted the request for automatic change of judge under Trial Rule 76(B). Furthermore, the trial court should not have held the modification hearing, as it was deprived of jurisdiction by the timely filing of the Trial Rule 76(B) request.

The COA reversed and remanded with instructions that the judge grant the mother’s request for change of judge and that the procedures for the selection of a new judge be immediately implemented. “We urge the parties to cooperate in the timely selection of a new judge and to consider the welfare of their children in resolving this matter,” the court wrote.


 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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