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Judges affirm change in custody

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the modification of a custody order giving the father primary custody of his son, finding the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in deciding that the boy’s physical and mental/academic maturation constituted a substantial change warranting the change in custody.

In In Re the Paternity of C.S.: M.R. (Mother) v. R.S. (Father), No. 53A01-1108-JP-381, mother M.R. appealed the change in modification that gave father R.S. primary custody of their son, C.S. The parents were never married, but when they split up, they entered into an agreed entry, approved by the trial court, to share joint legal and equal physical custody of the boy. M.R., who is in the Active Army Reserves, took a job at Fort Knox. C.S. would split time with his mother there and his father in Bloomington. Both agreed that C.S. was ready to begin kindergarten, but M.R. wanted the boy to split his time between both locations so that he would be enrolled in two schools.

R.S. requested primary physical custody, which the trial court granted. The judge found the father’s more flexible schedule and the fact C.S. has lived in Bloomington his whole life in support of his decision. The judge also concluded that beginning kindergarten in 2011 – instead of waiting another a year as M.R. later argued – was in C.S.’ best interests.

The COA affirmed the trial court’s finding that C.S.’ academic needs and abilities have substantially changed and he has reached an age that warrants a change in physical custody. That change is clearly in C.S.’ best interests, wrote Judge Carr Darden.

The judges also found the trial court didn’t misinterpret Indiana Code 31-17-2-21.3, which outlines factors surrounding custody and active duty service. M.R.’s service doesn’t show the impermanency contemplated in the statute, wrote the judge, as she cannot be deployed to a combat zone.

The trial court didn’t err in relying on an updated custody evaluation.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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