ILNews

Court rejects automatic change in custody for moving mom

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A mother will not automatically lose custody of one of her children if she chooses to relocate to Texas, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, reversing in part a trial court order in favor of the child’s presumptive father.

“In this case, the trial court’s order operated to automatically modify custody upon the happening of a future event — Mother’s relocation to Texas. This was error, and we reverse the portion of the trial court’s order that automatically grants Father primary custody of H.M. if Mother relocates to Texas,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in Jacqueline Myers v. Mark Myers, 49A02-1310-DR-895.

Otherwise, the court affirmed a Marion Superior order that found for the father, holding that mother had failed to rebut the presumption that Mark Myer’s was the child’s father, and that she had not met her burden to show relocation was in the child’s best interests.

Jacqueline Myers argued that the dissolution record in which she claimed the daughter was the product of an affair proves that her ex-husband was not the child’s father, therefore his objection to her relocation was invalid. “We are not so convinced,” Vaidik wrote.

She cited Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson’s dissent in In re Paternity of I.B., 5 N.E.3d 1160, 1161 (Ind. 2014), in which he cautioned that the court should make no determination of a biological father without DNA evidence. No such conclusive evidence is in the record in Myers v. Myers.

“Absent conclusive, direct, clear, and convincing evidence, and in light of the contradictory dissolution order, we cannot say that the presumption that H.M. is a child of the marriage has been rebutted,” the court held.



 

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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