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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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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