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Judges deny stepfather’s request to adopt children

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A mother’s deliberate decision to thwart the attempts of her ex-husband to communicate with their two small children supports the trial court’s decision to deny her current husband’s attempt to adopt the children, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Tuesday.

The Court of Appeals dealt with D.D. v. D.P., 49A02-1311-DR-1004, for the third time, with the issue before them whether the trial court erred in denying stepfather D.D.’s petition to adopt his wife’s children she had with D.P.

K.D. and D.P. divorced in 2004 when their two children were under the age of 2. Father moved to the Washington, D.C., area for work, but wanted to continue parenting time. Mother, however, only responded to five of the more than 60 emails he sent and asked him to either terminate his parental rights or allow her husband, D.D., whom she married in 2007, to adopt the children.  

The adoption was granted in 2010 but vacated because D.P. wasn’t served notice of the proceedings.

D.D. argued that D.P. hasn’t communicated with his children in nearly five years, so that justifies granting the adoption. He also claimed that D.P. could have directly contacted the children, but did not. But the trial court found that K.D. purposefully kept D.P. out of the children’s lives, despite his requests to exercise parenting time.

“In light of these facts, Father sought to establish contact in a manner that would gain Mother’s Approval and minimize any negative impact on the children, who were very young when Mother and Father dissolved their marriage. We would think that under these circumstances, Mother, or any parent, would prefer that Father contact her regarding communications to determine how to proceed in the best interests of the children. Accordingly, under these circumstances, Father demonstrated justifiable cause for not initiating direct communication with the children,” Judge John Baker wrote.


 

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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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