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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. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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