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Child’s best interest includes having father’s surname

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A noncustodial father’s active participation in his son’s life convinced the Indiana Court of Appeals that giving the father’s surname to the minor was in the best interest of the child.

The trial court denied the petition for change of name, ruling because the child, N.C.G., had gone by his mother’s surname for more than two years, giving the minor a new last name would not be in his best interest.

The father appealed, asserting the conclusions of the trial court “derived from findings of fact are clearly erroneous.” He told the court he had been trying to get his son’s name changed since the child was born. However, he had been unsuccessfully because he could not settle the issue with the child’s mother.  

In In Re: The Paternity of: N.C.G., B.G. v N.G., 02A04-1301-JP-21, the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the father. It reversed the trial court and remanded with instructions that the trial court enter an order changing N.C.G’s surname to the father’s.

The Court of Appeals pointed to recent cases, namely C.B. v B.W., 985 N.E.2d 340, 348 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013) and Petersen v Burton, 871 N.E.2d 1025, 1029 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), which held that it is in the child’s best interest to carry the father’s surname when the adult pays child support and actively participates in the minor’s life.

“Similarly, as observed in C.B., having a father’s surname under circumstances such as those presented in the instant case is in a child’s best interest because it is a tangible reminder that the child has two parents,” Judge John Baker wrote for the court.

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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