Court denies request for emancipation, child support change

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In deciding whether a father's child support requirement should be modified or ended, the Indiana Court of Appeals refused to adopt new reasoning that any child attending college could be deemed emancipated if that child didn't live in the custodial parent's home.

The unanimous ruling came in Nevin Tew v. Beverly Tew, No. 02A03-0911-CV-529, which affirmed a judgment out of Allen Superior Judge Charles Pratt and Magistrate Lori Morgan's courtroom.

The father appealed the trial court's order denying his 2009 petition seeking a declaration that M.T., his then-18-year-old daughter born in 1986, be emancipated or alternatively that his child support obligation be modified. The Tews had been married between 1982 and 2003, and the mother was awarded custody of M.T. while the father had parenting time and child support payments. The custody arrangement changed in 2005 and the father received custody of the youngest daughter, though the mom later regained custody. Over time, communication between that daughter and the father dwindled.

A year ago, the father filed a petition saying he should no longer be obligated to pay child support for M.T. because she should be deemed emancipated or that she'd repudiated her relationship with him. The older daughter had previously been emancipated, but her status wasn't at issue in the case.

Analyzing the emancipation law provisions in Indiana Code Section 30-16-6-6(a)(3) and (b)(3), the appellate court affirmed the lower ruling and found the trial court didn't err in either denying the father's request to modify the child support obligation or determining that M.T. hadn't repudiated her relationship with the father for emancipation.

The trial court record specifically showed evidence that the father-daughter relationship was still intact, the appellate panel decided.

But the father had specifically argued that she wasn't under the control of either parent because she lived in an apartment with her boyfriend while enrolled full-time in community college. Though M.T. had a part-time job, the trial court determined that she wasn't capable of supporting herself without the parents' help - the mother paid M.T.'s share of the rent and car insurance, as well as school supplies and medication. The father argued that M.T. should have to live with her mother, and that might reduce the need for the existing child support payment level.

Denying that argument, the appellate judges wrote in a footnote, "We note that were we to accept Father's claim in this regard, we would set precedent that any child who attended a post-secondary education institution, whether said institution be near the custodial parent's home or hours away, could be deemed emancipated if the child did not reside in the parent's home. Clearly this is not the legislature's intent."


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.