ILNews

Father’s consent not necessary for adoption to proceed

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Adoptive parents did not have to get the biological father’s consent to adopt his minor child, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

The adoptive parents filed a petition to adopt the child, L.H., and claimed the father’s consent was not necessary on three grounds: He had failed to communicate significantly with L.H. for one year, had failed to support L.H. for one year and was an unfit parent.

Evidence presented to the trial court showed that father J.H. has a long history of depression and substance abuse. He has been reluctant to follow treatment advice for his mental health issues or drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, he has attempted suicide and has cut himself. Also, he has been arrested, lost his license and has had difficulty maintaining employment and stable housing.

In 2008, the adoptive parents became concerned about their grandson M.L. and his half-brother L.H. They obtained guardianship over the children which the father did consent to because of his inability to care for his son at that time. M.L. is not the biological child of J.H.

Since then, L.H. and M.L. have remained the grandparent’s care.

In granting the grandparents’ petition, the trial court found that the couple had established the grounds for dispensing with the father’s consent and that the adoption was in L.H.’s best interest.

The father appealed, arguing the evidence is insufficient to prove that his consent was not required and that adoption was in L.H.’s best interests.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in the case, In Re Adoption of M.L., 29A02-1201-AD-54. The COA ruled that since it found sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that the father is not a fit parent, it did not need to address the court’s alternate ground for dispensing with the father’s consent.

The Court of Appeals affirmed that the evidence supported the conclusion that adoption is in L.H.’s best interest.

 

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  • Waste of time
    Why did the court people even waste their time considering the father's case. Everyone knows that fathers are irrelevant concerning the rearing of children. Our matriarchal society bears this out.

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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