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COA rules Marion County had exclusive jurisdiction over custody of boy

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed an order out of Montgomery County regarding custody and parenting time of a boy because that court could not properly exercise jurisdiction. Marion County had exclusive jurisdiction over the custody of the boy.

M.B. and N.S. were appointed guardians of B.C. by Marion Superior Court, Probate Division, July 31, 2012. M.B. is the boy’s maternal grandfather. At this time, paternity had not been established. J.C., the boy’s biological father, filed a petition to establish paternity, custody, support and parenting time in Montgomery Circuit Court Dec. 19, 2012. In May 2013, the guardians filed a petition for adoption in Marion Superior Court.

At issue in In the Matter of the Paternity of B.C., M.B. and N.S. v. J.C., 54A01-1309-JP-398, is whether Montgomery Circuit Court or Marion Superior Court had jurisdiction to determine the custody of B.C.

The Court of Appeals found the Marion Superior Court had jurisdiction to enter its July 31, 2012, order appointing M.B. and N.S. as guardians over B.C. because, at that time, J.C. had not yet filed his verified petition to establish paternity. And based on statute, Montgomery Circuit Court was authorized to enter its order Dec. 20, 2012, establishing paternity because the issue of whether J.C. was B.C.’s father was not an issue pending before Marion Superior Court.

But the Montgomery Circuit Court was precluded from entering its July 5, 2013, order finding that the guardians should retain physical custody of B.C. at that time, that J.C. and the biological mother share joint legal custody, and that both parents should have parenting time. The guardianship, paternity, and adoption proceedings all relate to custody – a subject that was properly before the Marion Superior Court due to the guardianship action, the appeals court held.

The judges found that I.C. 31-19-2-14, which governs the exclusive jurisdiction when a petition for adoption and a petition to establish paternity are pending at the same time, controls rather than I.C. 31-30-1-1(3).

“While the Guardians did not cite Ind. Code § 31-19-2-14 to the Montgomery Circuit Court, they did request a transfer of the case to the Marion Superior Court, albeit to the guardianship proceedings, and the evidence presented at the hearing in the Montgomery Circuit Court included mention of the adoption petition filed by the Guardians,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.

“Because the petition for adoption and the paternity action were pending at the same time, the court in which the petition for adoption had been filed had exclusive jurisdiction over the custody of B.C. Accordingly, the Montgomery Circuit Court could not properly exercise jurisdiction to enter its July 5, 2013 order as the Marion Superior Court had exclusive jurisdiction over the custody of B.C., and the Marion Superior Court erred when it dismissed the guardianship and adoption proceedings. We reverse the Montgomery Circuit Court’s July 5, 2013 order and remand with instructions for the Marion Superior Court to comply with all provisions of Ind. Code §§ 31-19 and 29-3.”
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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