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COA once again rules guardians have no authority to file for divorce

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Indiana law does not allow guardians the ability to petition for the dissolution of marriage on their ward’s behalf, the Indiana Court of Appeals held for the second time in nearly four months. The appeals court reversed the grant of a divorce filed by an incapacitated man’s daughters, who are his co-guardians.

Leora McGee appealed the Lake Superior Court’s grant of the petition filed by Robert McGee’s children Sharon Hilton and Judith Kalajian on his behalf. While Leora McGee was in the hospital, the daughters moved their father to a nursing home out of state and filed the dissolution petition. The McGees had been married for nearly three years. Leora McGee objected to the filing, testifying they had a good marriage.

Citing State ex rel. Quear v. Madison Circuit Court, 229 Ind. 503, 99 N.E.2d 254, 256 (1951) and the July decision in Marriage of Tillman v. Tillman, 87A05-1212-DR-619, the Court of Appeals again pointed out that neither the current Indiana law governing dissolution of marriage nor those governing the guardianship of incapacitated persons provides a means for a guardian to file a petition for dissolution of marriage on behalf of his or her ward.

“In a world full of subsequent marriages and available pre-nuptial agreements, we will not read into a statute such a sweeping and potentially overreaching authority, authority that is not the clearly expressed intent of the General Assembly,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote in In Re the Marriage of Leora McGee v. Robert McGee, 45A04-1301-DR-33.

 

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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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