ILNews

Court reverses grant of custody to grandmother

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Finding that the Porter Circuit judge’s ruling is not supported by clear and convincing evidence, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the court vacate its award of physical custody of A.S. to her grandmother and return her to the care of her mother.

M.S. gave birth to A.S. in 2002. M.S.’s mother M.D. provided lodging for A.S. off and on until May 2008 and care since her birth. M.S. married and has two children with A.S.’s stepfather. The relationship between M.S. and her mother became strained. The stepfather sought to adopt A.S.; shortly thereafter, A.S.’s biological father was contacted. M.D. later sought custody of A.S. but not the girl’s half-siblings.

A guardian ad litem found A.S. was a polite and happy girl and good in school. She said she missed seeing her grandmother but has adjusted to the change.

M.S. had previously abused alcohol and has schizoaffective disorder, which she controls with medication. Her mother tried to use those facts against her in fighting for custody.

The trial court awarded M.D. physical custody of A.S. with her biological father to exercise visitation rights. The goal was A.S. would eventually live with her father.

But the evidence doesn’t support the judge’s decision, the appellate court concluded. The mother is able to combat her disorder with medication, is in a stable relationship with her husband, who is able to care for the children, and she no longer abuses alcohol. The trial court’s conclusion that the relationship between A.S. and her grandmother is so strong that if it’s not continued, it would be potentially harmful to the future wellbeing of A.S. also isn’t supported by evidence, Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote.

In In Re: The Paternity of A.S.: Melissa Slansky v. Mary Doffin-Syler, and Bradley Howell, 64A03-1204-JP-171, the COA ordered A.S. returned to the custody of her mother and for the trial court to determine the details of her biological father’s visitation. The trial court will also determine what, if any, visitation rights are due to M.D. under the Grandparent Visitation Act.

 

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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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