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Court affirms grandparents’ rights to visitation

February 19, 2016

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a motion which would have denied grandparents visitation rights.

The parents adopted two children in 2012, and the trial court granted the maternal grandparents visitation and ordered a specific visitation schedule the same year. The parents denied the visitation, and the grandparents filed numerous contempt motions. After the parents filed a petition to terminate the grandparents’ visitation rights, the trial court found the parents in contempt of court and ordered the parents to pay the grandparents’ attorney fees, over $19,000 total, and denied the parents’ petition.

The parents claim they thought the order was void, but the Court of Appeals said that is not a valid defense as to why they did not follow it.

The parents also argued that keeping the children from the grandparents was in the children’s best interest, but presented no new evidence at appeal. The parents’ disagreement with the court’s order is not reason enough to not follow the order, which was clear.

The parents also claimed that because the grandparents’ attorney conceded on a few of  the attorney fees, all of the fees should be wiped out, but the court said that is not the case.

Finally, the parents attempted to shift the burden of proof to the grandparents, saying they did not follow the four factors needed to change visitation. However, the parents appealed not an initial order, but a modification, making the motion invalid and shifting blame back to parents. Again, as the parents presented no new evidence, grandparents’ visitation was affirmed.

The case is In the Matter of the Adoption of AA and L.A. J.B. and S.B. v R.C. and N.C., 48A02-1505-AD-328.

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