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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. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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