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COA: Twins to remain with guardian, not grandmother

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that twins from northern Indiana may be adopted by their guardian in Bloomington over the objections of the children’s father and paternal grandmother.

In In the Matter of the Adoption of J.L.J. and J.D.J., Minor Children; J.J. and T.H. v. D.E., 53A01-1306-AD-285, father J.J. and grandmother T.H. sought to reverse the Monroe Circuit court order dispensing with father’s consent to the adoption of the twins and denying grandmother’s petitions for guardianship and adoption of the children.

Mother J.S. and father have been in an off-and-on relationship that has produced four children. At one point, mother had four children under the age of 2 in her care. The twins, born in Benton Harbor, Mich., where grandmother and father lived, resided in South Bend with their mother. The mother would leave the twins with different friends and relatives often, including grandmother. Father spent some time incarcerated during the twin’s young lives and never paid child support despite a court order.

A friend of J.S.’ mother, D.E., who had been seeking to adopt for years, learned about mother and her situation and drove from Bloomington to South Bend to visit with the mother. That day J.S. signed a consent form to allow D.E. to become guardian and eventually adopt the children.

Father didn’t contest D.E.’s petition for appointment as guardian and to adopt within 30 days of receiving notice, although later he and his mother challenged the petitions. Grandmother wanted the children placed with her. The trial court ruled in favor of D.E.

The Court of Appeals affirmed on interlocutory appeal. It found sufficient evidence to support the determination that father’s consent was not required based on his knowing failure to provide care and support for the twins, despite an ability to do so. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that grandmother was not entitled to notice of the guardianship proceedings because the twins did not live with her 60 days prior to D.E. filing her petitions, Judge Patricia Riley wrote.

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children does not apply, as grandmother argued, because the children were considered residents of Indiana, despite being born in Michigan and sometimes living there.

Finally, the COA held it is in the best interests of the children to be adopted by D.E. They are very well-adjusted 2-1/2 year olds, the court found, and they are receiving excellent services.
 

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. 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

  5. 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?

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