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Judge ‘troubled’ by delays in relocation case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday upheld a mother’s decision to relocate from Indiana to Georgia with her daughter before a court hearing was held on the matter. But one judge on the panel found the court’s reliance on the time the mother and child lived in Georgia to support its decision “makes a mockery” of the relocation statute.

Starr Weather and Ryan Gold have a daughter born in August 2008. Gold is married with two other children and lives in Indianapolis. Weather worked as a nurse in Terre Haute. The two had a contentious relationship, including Weather denying Gold visitation for more than a year. She decided to relocate to Atlanta, Ga., to be close to her mother and two siblings, whom lived in Terre Haute prior to moving to Georgia.

Weather did not provide the required 90-day notice of her intent to move prior to her relocation date of July 1, 2011, and she moved prior to obtaining court approval. In October 2012, the court found that Weather satisfied her burden of proving the move was in good faith and for a legitimate purpose. In October 2013, the court issued its final order denying Gold’s objection to the relocation and his motion to modify physical custody. The two were awarded joint legal custody of the child.

In Ryan Gold v. Starr Weather, 49A02-1311-JP-995, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision by the trial court, with Judge Patricia Riley pointing to the care that mother’s immediate family provided for the child and her close bond with those family members. Weather also relocated to Georgia for employment reasons.

Gold argued that custody should be modified because of Weather’s multiple attempts to thwart parenting time, but the judges declined to disturb the trial court’s decision.

The majority opinion noted by the time of the final hearing, the child had lived in Georgia for two years. This was an issue that caused Judge Margret Robb to concur in result.

“I believe Mother’s move in violation of the terms of the relocation statute alone justifies closer scrutiny of her reasons for the move. And Mother’s hasty move coupled with the court’s reliance – however small – on the time she and the Child have lived 800 miles away from Father as support for its decision despite acknowledging her disregard makes a mockery of the statute,” Robb wrote.

“If a parent can ignore the requirements of the law, move the child without court approval, and then claim ‘primary caregiving’ and ‘bonding’ as a justification for staying with that parent being in the child’s best interest—and moreover, if the court can acknowledge all of this and yet in effect reward the parent by approving what they have already done—then the relocation statute has no meaning and no teeth.”

She said her concurrence might have been a dissent if Gold had been more aggressive in pursuing his rights and less complicit in the lengthy delay in this case. Robb also found the two-year delay from the notice of intent to move and when the final order was issued to be “unconscionable” on the part of both the parties and the court.  

 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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