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COA affirms order mother attend psychotherapy

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Ruling on a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s decision to impose psychotherapy in a marital dissolution and custody order.

The issue arose in Lesley Farley Pitcavage v. Joel Michael Pitcavage, 29A02-1307-DR-597, in which Hamilton Superior Judge Daniel J. Pfleging ordered Lesley Pitcavage to undergo psychotherapy in order to participate in parenting time with her young daughter.

The Pitcavages have one child from their short marriage and Lesley Pitcavage has two children from a previous relationship. Joel Pitcavage had concerns about how his wife and her daughter A.F. interacted – they argued and got into physical altercations at times, and the mother was often passive to A.F.’s violent outbursts. Both are victims of sexual assault and violence, with A.F.’s perpetrator being Lesley Pitcavage’s brother.

Out of work, Joel Pitcavage moved to the St. Louis area and told his wife he wanted to take their daughter with him. She filed for divorce in 2010, and they battled over custody of the girl. The court-appointed clinical psychologist recommended Joel Pitcavage receive primary physical and sole legal custody – which the court granted – and that Leslie Pitcavage participate in “intensive individual pyschodynamically oriented psychotherapy.”

“We recognize that parents have an interest in rearing their children without undue interference from the courts, but in any child-related matter—whether it be custody, visitation, or termination of parental rights—the best interests of the child must be the primary consideration,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote. “Court-ordered psychotherapy may not be appropriate in every case, but here, where the evidence supports the mandate, we find the Child’s emotional development outweighs Leslie’s opposition to psychotherapy. Because the parenting time condition is based upon the trial court’s endeavor to protect the child’s emotional well-being, we cannot say that it was an abuse of discretion for the trial court to order Leslie to attend psychotherapy.”

The judges also affirmed the rest of the divorce decree with the exception of the valuation of Leslie Pitcavage’s 401(k) account. They ordered the trial court to enter a value of $56,820.36, the amount of the account as of Jan. 1, 2010. The trial court had valued it at $10,424.99, the amount she contributed to the account during the marriage.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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