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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. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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