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Judges disagree whether mother’s relocation is in good faith

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A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday couldn’t agree whether a northern Indiana mother’s decision to relocate with her two children was made in good faith. The majority upheld her request to relocate.

In Geoffrey A. Gilbert v. Melinda J. Gilbert, 57A03-1308-DR-312, Geoffrey Gilbert appealed the grant of his ex-wife’s petition to relocate with their two minor children. Melinda Gilbert wanted to relocate because she needed a bigger house for her two children with Geoffrey Gilbert, her new child with her fiancé and her fiance’s child who lived with them occasionally. She said she was unable to find a home that accommodated their needs in Albion and decided to relocate to Goshen, approximately 30 miles from Geoffrey Gilbert.

Judges Patricia Riley and Michael Barnes affirmed the grant of Melinda Gilbert’s petition to relocate, finding the record clearly supports the conclusion that she sought to relocate in good faith. She worked to alleviate her ex-husband’s inconvenience by staying relatively close to his home in Albion, he works in Goshen, and his two older children from a previous marriage live in Middlebury and attend the same school system that the younger Gilbert children would.

Also, the majority noted the amount of time the children would spend with their father was not going to change regardless of whether the trial court approved or denied their mother’s request to relocate.

“Therefore, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting Mother’s relocation request because Father failed to prove that it was not in the Children’s best interests,” Riley wrote.

Judge Margret Robb dissented, writing she didn’t believe Melinda Gilbert desired to relocate in good faith. Robb said the record doesn’t support moving to a better school district as a good faith and legitimate reason for her proposed relocation as Melinda Gilbert gave no testimony about the Goshen schools.

“If simply saying, ‘I want a bigger house,’ is a good faith and legitimate reason for relocating, then we have gone too far in the opposite direction of setting too high a bar for the relocating parent to meet, we have set no bar whatsoever,” Robb wrote.

The majority affirmed the denial of appellate attorney fees for Melinda Gilbert.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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