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COA: Aunt and uncle have no standing for visitation petition

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Indiana statutes and caselaw do not allow for aunts or uncles of a child to petition for visitation, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday.

In Danny R. Kitchen, Jr. v. Rebecca Kitchen (deceased), Michael Lake and Shelly Lake, No. 27A04-1101-DR-14, father Danny Kitchen challenged the grant of visitation to his child’s maternal aunt and uncle. Kitchen and his wife divorced, and his wife and K.K. moved in with Michael and Shelly Lake, where they lived until Rebecca Kitchen died.

The Lakes were given temporary custody of K.K., but the court later granted full custody of the child to Kitchen and awarded supervised visitation to the Lakes in June 2009. Neither party appealed the order. But in March 2010, Kitchen asked the court to vacate the portion of the order granting visitation to K.K.’s maternal aunt and uncle. The trial court denied his motion, finding Kitchen was attacking the sufficiency of the evidence to support the visitation order and that time for that challenge had passed.

The trial court erroneously relied on In Re Paternity of J.A.C., 734 N.E.2d 1057 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), to conclude it had the authority to grant visitation to the Lakes, the Court of Appeals held. The Lakes’ arguments that King v. S.B., 837 N.E.2d 965 (Ind. 2005) and M.S. v. C.S., 938 N.E.2d 278 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), support their position that Indiana appellate courts are amenable to an expansion of the class of petitioners with standing to request visitation are also misplaced, wrote Judge James Kirsch.

Caselaw or statutes have allowed parents, step-parents and grandparents standing to seek visitation under certain conditions, but that right has never been extended to other third parties.

The judges also determined that Kitchen’s challenge of the visitation order was timely. In the instant case, the trial court lacked the authority to grant visitation to the Lakes because they didn’t have standing to petition for visitation with K.K. Because the lack of standing can’t be cured, that portion of the June 2009 order is void, wrote Judge Kirsch.

The judges remanded the matter for further proceedings.

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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