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COA affirms joint legal custody

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a dissolution court's decision to grant joint legal custody of two minor children to the parents, finding the lower court followed Indiana statute in granting the custody.

In Diana Gonzalez v. Edward Gonzalez, No. 64A04-0712-CV-733, Diana Gonzalez argued the dissolution court erred in granting her legal custody to make health care decisions for two minor children, and in giving her ex-husband Edward Gonzalez legal custody over educational and religious decisions.

Shortly before Diana filed for divorce, Edward was excommunicated from the church where the family attended services and where the children were enrolled in school. Members of the congregation are not to associate with those who have been excommunicated; Edward wanted the children to attend a different church and school.

Diana asserted the dissolution court "ignored" the statutory requirements of Indiana Code Section 31-17-2-17. Diana had physical custody of the two children and argued that the term "custodian" used in the section applied to the person with physical custody of the child, and according to the statute, she should be able to make the decisions regarding education and religion.

But the appellate court disagreed, finding the term custodian in the statute applies to the legal custodian, not physical custodian, of the child, wrote Judge Edward Najam. In addition, during the final custody hearing, Edward's request for legal custody of the two children was the functional equivalent of a "motion" under subsection (b) of the statute, which allows for limitation of a custodian's authority, wrote the judge.

The joint legal custody arrangement is in the best interest of the two children because there is evidence if Diana had educational and religious legal custody, she would enroll the children in a school and church in which their father had been excommunicated. Allowing Edward to enroll the children in a different school and church is what's best to allow for a healthy relationship with their father, the court found.

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  3. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  4. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

  5. Once again Indiana has not only shown what little respect it has for animals, but how little respect it has for the welfare of the citizens of the state. Dumping manure in a pond will most certainly pollute the environment and ground water. Who thought of this spiffy plan? No doubt the livestock industry. So all the citizens of Indiana have to suffer pollution for the gain of a few livestock producers who are only concerned about their own profits at the expense of everyone else who lives in this State. Shame on the Environmental Rules Board!

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