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Judges reverse adoption completed while mother was out of state

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the grant of an adoption petition by a child’s paternal grandparents, finding the matter was surrounded by irregular and fraudulent circumstances.

In In Re the Adoption of M.P.S., Jr.; A.S. v. M.P.S., Sr., M.S., and An.S., No. 88A01-1108-AD-387, mother A.S. appealed the grant of adoption of her son by M.S. and An. S., the mother and stepfather of M.P.S. Sr., who is the father of M.P.S. Jr. The boy was born out of wedlock to the young parents, who married and then lived in Virginia before moving to Indiana to live with the father’s mother and stepfather. At some point the parents moved back to Virginia with their son to live with M.P.S. Sr.’s father and stepmother, but eventually moved back to Indiana and lived with the grandparents.

M.S. and An. S. sought to adopt M.P.S. Jr. The parents met with the grandparents’ attorney, but did not have their own attorney. The parents signed consent for the adoption, which was notarized by the attorney, but her notary commission had recently expired. She also advised the parents the consents were revocable up until the adoption hearing.

The parents were to go to Virginia to take a sibling of M.P.S. Sr. so the sibling could live with his parent in Virginia. M.P.S. Sr. quickly moved up the trip so that he and his wife would be out of town during the adoption hearing. They had not received notice of the hearing. While in Virginia, M.P.S. Sr. left A.S. behind in the middle of the night. While she was gone, she learned her son had been adopted. M.P.S. Sr. continued to live with his mother and stepfather.

The COA reversed, finding numerous procedural errors, involuntariness and fraud upon the court. It appeared the trip was planned to keep the mother from withdrawing her consent. Also, at the hearing, the grandparents testified that the child had lived with them his whole life, which was incorrect.

In addition, A.S. signed her consent for adoption under the premise that her living conditions would not change and she would continue to live with her son.

The judges remanded with instructions to vacate the adoption decree and to comply with Indiana Code 31-14-13-1, which vests sole legal custody of a child born out of wedlock to the biological mother.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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