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IBA: Legislative Committee takes action on grandparents rights

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The Indiana General Assembly grappled with some hefty family law issues during the recent legislative session and the IBA was up to the challenge.

A letter from the Indianapolis Bar Association's Legislative Committee was read during discussion in the Indiana House on Senate Bill 59. The Legislative Committee and the Family Law Section had been keeping a close eye on Senate Bill 59 as it progressed through the legislature. The bill, which set out to expand the parameters surrounding grandparent and great-grandparent visitation, was opposed by section members because it would open the door for potentially contentious litigation in intact families.

IBA Members were kept abreast of legislation this year via updates in the IBA E-Bulletin electronic newsletter and targeted e-mails. "It is critical that members of the Bar be aware and involved in the issues being addressed by the legislature," said Kerry Hyatt Blomquist, co-chair of the IBA's Legislative Committee. "In general terms, our legislators are passing laws that we, as lawyers, will be referencing and that we, as judges, will be interpreting."

Senate Bill 59 was defeated on third reading in the Indiana House on Feb. 25. As of press time, no further action had taken place, but the bill could be revived in conference committee or attached to another piece of legislation.

A letter written by Blomquist outlining the IBA's opposition to SB 59 was read by Rep. Cindy Noe (R-Indianapolis), during discussion before the final vote.

In part, the letter stated: "This bill would create a cause of action for every disgruntled grandparent and allow them the remedy of filing a law suit when they are not allowed to see their grandchildren. Please understand that we are talking about an intact, married couple losing the ability to decide together, as parents of their children, whether to limit or restrict grandparent visitation. That is a right that all parents have, and we believe it is a right that should not be challengeable unless there is a viable concern for the safety or well being of their children."

Chris Worden, a family law attorney and member of the Family Law Section's executive committee, also had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the bill could have a negative impact on intact families and children. "So many family law attorneys oppose this legislation because they've seen how destructive parenting time litigation is for children and parental relationships. It can be stressful and financially devastating," he said.

Members of the Family Law Section had received a number of e-mail updates about this bill and Senate Bill 178, which dealt with custody issues. Members also had a chance to share their comments on an online survey.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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