Court orders hearing on child’s best interests

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed an order giving a father physical custody of his child. The child’s maternal grandparents had assumed guardianship of the child following the death of the child’s mother.

Mother had custody of L.T., and father C.T. was granted parenting time and ordered to pay child support when mother died in October 2012. Her parents filed a petition in Hamilton Superior Court seeking guardianship of the child. Father purportedly consented and they were appointed co-guardians.

C.T.’s parents filed a petition in Marion Circuit Court to transfer the case to Marion County paternity court; the Hamilton County court transferred the case. It was consolidated with the maternal grandparents’ petition to adopt filed in probate court in Marion County. The Marion County court determined that Hamilton County did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the guardianship proceedings and terminated the grandparents’ guardianship. The court ordered the child immediately returned to C.T.

The Court of Appeals noted in In Re the Adoption of L.T.: J.M. and S.M. v. C.T., 49A05-1310-AD-493, that father confuses subject matter jurisdiction and venue. Had the subject of the child’s custody been first properly brought before the Marion County juvenile court for litigation, the Hamilton County probate court would have been precluded from making a custody determination regarding the same child, even if the child was a Hamilton County resident, Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote.

But the filing of a case in a county in which venue does not properly reside does not divest the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction.

The Hamilton County Superior Court, Probate Division did not lack subject matter jurisdiction to conduct guardianship proceedings. When the court was informed of its lack of proper venue and the Marion County paternity proceedings, the matter was transferred. Upon consolidation in the Marion County Superior Court, Probate Division, it was then incumbent upon the probate court to complete the proceeding. The probate court erred in granting relief from the guardianship order on grounds that the order was void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Father argued that upon the child’s mother’s death, the child should have immediately been returned to him as the surviving parent since paternity had already been established.

“Ultimately, however, we need not decide whether, upon death of one parent, the surviving parent is entitled to automatic extinguishment of an existing guardianship. Those are not the circumstances of this case,” Bailey wrote. “Here, Father relinquished a right to custody of Child immediately upon Mother’s death. For reasons no yet developed in a best interests hearing, Father signed – subsequent to Mother’s death – a consent to guardianship of Child. As no hearing has been conducted, the record on appeal is devoid of any evidence of changed circumstances.”

The judges ordered a hearing on the best interests of the child.


  • truth b told
    Also I filed forgery charges in Hamilton county and also in Marion county and nobody seems to care because the officer said it will sit in a drawer and collect dust before it gets to a prosecutor because my child belonging to me from being stole from me isn't important as "real"forgery...sad world but luckily I have great parent...I couldn't imagine anyone going thru this knowing u are a great parent and won multiple times in court..never lost in 5 courts. ..sad but u only get so many doors and they are running out...
  • truth b told
    I'm the guy going through this and the point that is being missed is I never consented or waived anything and they forged my signature as well as the notary so this is the reason why justice hasn't been served and its gonna take a best interest hearing which we already done in a brief but I never got to show all the forged evidence so I will let u know in October 272829..smh 2 yrs because they depend on people to run out of money first sad world but my daughter comes first. .
    • Screwed
      This is what happened to me. My Ex-wife was killed in a Car wreck which was driven by her brother. In the vehicle was my daughter and my ex wife's parents. Tragically the Grandparents and my ex were killed in a Roll Over. The Uncle and my daughter survived. I went to Court 2 weeks after being informed as to what occurred. We went thru the motions etc...then the Best interest of the Child was brought into play.Because her uncle(who was convicted numerous times of drunk driving) had visited and or had a direct contact in that community(I live in Indy) with my daughter the Court awarded him! custody,I will say nothing about the brainwashing and foot dragging by the Courts,the courts callous and indifferent behaviour and attitude was of the highest caliber of disgusting.I pity this man,suffice it to say,I have zero contact with my daughter.I wish him luck.

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      1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

      2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

      3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

      4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

      5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.