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. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

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