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Justices vacate adoption decree

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The Indiana Supreme Court ordered the adoption decree granted to paternal grandparents be vacated because they didn’t perform a diligent search for the biological mother.

Mother A.B. appealed the grant of adoption of her son L.D. to the boy’s paternal grandparents. When L.D. was born, mother was incarcerated and mother’s co-worker N.E. was appointed his guardian. N.E. adopted A.B. after L.D. was born and became his maternal grandmother. Eventually the paternal grandparents filed an adoption petition and asked the court to terminate N.E.’s rights to parenting time.

Neither N.E. nor A.B. was aware the paternal grandparents had filed the adoption petition. After the adoption was granted, they appealed. At issue in the instant case is whether mother A.B. had been given the notice the law required. The trial court denied her Indiana Trial Rule 60(B) request, holding that publication in an Indianapolis newspaper had been adequate with respect to A.B. The notice was placed in a newspaper geared toward the African-American community. None of the parties in the case is African-American.

In Adoption of L.D.; A.B. and N.E. v. Jo.D. and Ja.D., No. 49S02-1006-CV-330, the justices reversed, finding A.B. did not receive adequate notice as required by law. They cited several cases that explained that service by publication is inadequate when a diligent effort hasn’t been made to find a party.

The paternal grandparents and their attorney didn’t perform a diligent search required by the Due Process Clause, wrote Justice Frank Sullivan.

“Here, although Paternal Grandparents had successfully given notice to Mother at N.E.’s address on previous occasions, they made no attempt to do so here,” he wrote. “Viewing the evidence most favorably to them, they made only the most obtuse and ambiguous attempt to ask N.E. about Mother’s whereabouts. They affirmatively concealed from N.E. the very fact that they were filing an adoption petition even though the most minimal diligence to find Mother would have involved N.E. One need look no further than the fact that N.E. and Mother filed their motion in court less than two weeks after Paternal Grandparents told N.E. that the adoption had been granted to see how little effort would have been required for Paternal Grandparents to find Mother had they involved N.E.”

The justices remanded with directions to grant A.B.’s Trial Rule 60(B) motion.
 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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