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Court rules on transfer to California court

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The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a trial court's decision to relinquish its jurisdiction over child support matters to a California trial court. In its opinion, the high court examined the interplay between the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

In Mahmoud M. Basileh v. Arwa G. Alghusain, No. 29S02-0810-CV-584, father Mahmoud Basileh appealed the trial court's transfer of visitation, custody, and child support matters to Superior Court of Monterey County, Calif., where mother Arwa Alghusain relocated with their children shortly after the couple divorced in Hamilton County, Ind. Basileh had also moved overseas to take care of his mother and no longer lived in Indiana. He objected to Alghusain's petition to transfer jurisdiction and he never filed a written consent to the transfer. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed, finding Basileh was no longer a resident of the state within the meaning of the FFCCSOA and that act preempts the UIFSA because of a conflict between the two statutes.

The high court summarily affirmed the Court of Appeals' determination concerning residency and examined the preemption issue in its opinion released today. The justices examined the history behind the acts and Indiana's adoption of its UIFSA and concluded that Congress didn't intend for the FFCCSOA to preempt the UIFSA and that it appeared the FFCCSOA was intended to follow the contours of UIFSA, wrote Justice Robert Rucker. In addition, the nonresidency requirement and consent requirement of Indiana's version of the UIFSA are closely modeled after the federal version of the UIFSA.

The Court of Appeals interpreted the Indiana statute to say for the state to no longer retain jurisdiction, both the nonresidency requirement and the written consent requirement must be met. But the Supreme Court found this part of the statute to be ambiguous and looked to legislative intent. The UIFSA contains a consent requirement from both parties that the FFCCSOA does not, the justice noted.

The justices found the language in the federal act to be a strong indicator of the legislative intent when it enacted the Indiana statute in that the nonresidency requirement and the consent requirement of the statute are separate and alternative methods by which an Indiana court may maintain its continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a child support order. As such, both the absence of the parties and consent before a court loses jurisdiction isn't required.

"In this case it is of no moment that the parties did not file a written consent with the Indiana court for the California court to modify the Indiana support order. Rather, the Indiana court lost its jurisdiction because Father, like Mother and the children, is no longer an Indiana resident," wrote Justice Rucker.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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