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COA: Adoption petition should remain in Superior Court

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The Lake Superior Court was not required under the county’s case allocation plan to transfer an adoption petition to juvenile court where termination of parental rights proceedings are pending involving the same children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

“Here, we are presented with exactly the same issue the Pera Court addressed: whether Lake County’s local rule, i.e. the Caseload Allocation Plan, trumps a statute, i.e. Indiana Code section 31-19-1-2, which provides that probate courts have exclusive jurisdiction over adoption matters,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote.

N.E. sought to adopt J.T.D. and J.S., who are her cousin’s children. She attempted to intervene in the termination of parental rights proceedings pending in juvenile court, but was denied. She then filed her petition to adopt in Lake Superior Court, which holds probate jurisdiction in its civil division.

The Department of Child Services, which had custody of the children, wanted N.E.’s petition transferred to juvenile court pursuant to the Lake County Case Allocation Plan. Lake Superior Court denied the motions, leading to this interlocutory appeal.

In State ex re. Commons v. Pera, 987 N.E.2d 1074, 1078 (Ind. 2013), the Indiana Supreme Court blocked Judge Nicholas Schiralli’s transfer to Lake Superior Juvenile Court after Mary Beth Bonaventura left to head DCS. His reassignment was in accord with a local court rule promulgated in the caseload allocation plan at issue in this appeal.

“The DCS places undue emphasis on the fact that our supreme court approved the Caseload Allocation Plan. The Pera Court rejected this same argument and observed that the Caseload Allocation Plan is not a rule promulgated by the supreme court,” Mathias pointed out.

“Our General Assembly has statutorily conferred jurisdiction of adoption proceedings exclusively to probate courts. In Lake County, the Civil Division has probate jurisdiction, and therefore, exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over adoption proceedings. DCS may not rely on local court rule, i.e. the Caseload Allocation Plan, to circumvent the Lake County Civil Division’s exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over adoption proceedings,” Mathias wrote.

The case is In re the Adoption of: J.T.D. & J.S. (Minor Children), Children to be Adopted, and N.E. (Prospective Adoptive Parent) v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 45A03-1308-AD-310.


 

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  1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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