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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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