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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.
 

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  • 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. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

      2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

      3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

      4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

      5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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