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Court affirms boy should stay in Indiana with father

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Noting that its decision should not be viewed as a punishment for either parent, a trial court denied a mother’s request to move to California with  her son and ordered the boy remain in Indiana with his father. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Friday, finding the father presented evidence that supported the trial court’s decision.

Allison DeCloedt and Shane Wagaman divorced in 2011 when H.W. was two years old. DeCloedt had sole physical and legal custody of the boy with Wagaman exercising parenting time. DeCloedt remarried in July 2013 and told the court she planned to relocate to California, where her husband moved for work. Wagaman objected and, after a hearing in which the trial judge said it “preferred not to make a decision at all,” the trial court granted Wagaman’s petition to modify custody so that H.W. remained in Indiana and DeCloedt would exercise parenting time.

In a case that the Court of Appeals referred to as a “close case,” the judges affirmed. Both parents testified the other was a very good parent and there were never any issues with support or visitation prior to DeCloedt’s relocation. The trial court found that her relocation was in good faith and that father proved the proposed relocation is not in H.W.’s best interests.

 The appeals judges agreed, pointing to the numerous family members H.W. has in Indiana and his current relationship with them. They rejected mother’s argument that all other things being equal, her role as primary caregiver during H.W.’s life takes precedence over the other factors the dissolution court was to consider.

 “[T]he dissolution court was forced to make a very difficult decision. In the end, the dissolution court found that it is in H.W.’s best interests to stay in Indiana with his Father and future stepsiblings, with both sets of grandparents and cousins living nearby,” wrote Judge Edward Najam in Allison I. (Wagaman) DeCloedt v. Shane C. Wagaman, 92A03-1401-DR-39.
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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