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. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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