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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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