Custody

COA: Court erred in not granting request for change of judge

January 30, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
Indiana’s appellate court has reversed a trial court in denying a mother’s request for change of judge in a custody dispute.
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COA: Judge erred in giving jury instruction

October 13, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Jefferson Superior judge erred in giving a jury an instruction on a lesser included offense of domestic battery because there wasn’t a serious evidentiary dispute about whether the battery was committed in the presence of children, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Guidance offered on incarcerated parents' attendance at termination hearings

October 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Scolding the Indiana Department of Child Services for how it handled a parental termination case, the Indiana Supreme Court has found an incarcerated mother’s due process rights were not violated when she did not receive adequate notice about pending proceedings that would affect her rights as a parent or when she was not allowed to attend the hearings.
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Foster families get in free to Marengo Cave

October 6, 2011
IL Staff
Thanks to a partnership between Marengo Cave and the Indiana Department of Child Services, foster parents and their foster, biological and stepchildren will be able to get in to Marengo Cave’s guided walking tours for free.
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Judges extend due process safeguards regarding interpreters to civil cases

October 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court must take the same steps in a civil action as it does in a criminal action regarding the use of an interpreter in order to address due process concerns, the Indiana Court of Appeals held for the first time Tuesday.
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COA: Judge can cite statutes and facts not in CHINS petition

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a Hendricks Superior judge didn’t step outside his authority when referencing statutes and facts not specifically cited in a Department of Child Services petition alleging two minor boys were Children in Need of Services.
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Proposed rules provide uniformity for parenting coordinators

May 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The use of parenting coordinators is increasing around the state. But depending on where you are in Indiana, the authority of the parenting coordinator – PC – may differ. In an effort to create uniformity, rules are being proposed that would regulate the role and authority of PCs.
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COA rules in favor of mother in contentious custody battle

May 24, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s decision awarding a mother primary custody of her child, after a joint custody arrangement between the mother and father deteriorated.
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Committees propose new rules for parenting coordination

April 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Domestic Relations Committee and Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana have developed proposed parenting coordination rules and commentary. Parenting coordinators are used to help resolve disputes between parents regarding children. Currently, there are no existing Indiana Supreme Court rules covering the area.
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Open house Thursday for court agency office

April 20, 2011
IL Staff
The Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau is holding an open house Thursday for its new offices in the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis. The 40-year-old court agency provides recommendations to the court for custody and visitation.
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Court splits on standard used to modify custody

April 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the trial court departed from established statutory procedures by using the “best interests” standard to modify physical custody, the majority of Indiana Court of Appeals judges affirmed the lower court’s decision.
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Judges split on child support modification

March 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues, finding their decision regarding child support promotes “formalism over fairness and legalism over common sense.”
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Encouraging diversity in CASA programs

March 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Having volunteers and staff who can relate to families that interact with Court Appointed Special Advocates programs has proven invaluable to a number of county-level CASA programs in Indiana. Indianapolis-based Child Advocates Inc. received the National CASA Inclusion Award for its inclusion and diversity plan March 20 at the National CASA conference in Chicago.
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COA: Summons should notify of risk of default judgment

February 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Due process requires that a respondent in a dissolution proceeding be notified of the risk of default for not appearing or otherwise responding, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. The judges reversed a couple’s decree of dissolution, ruling it was void because the summons served on the wife was insufficient.
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Justices adopt COA adoption holding, invite attorney fee motions

February 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer on a St. Joseph County adoption case and fully adopted a holding by the state’s intermediate appellate court. In doing so, the state justices invited the prevailing biological mother to request attorney fees because of what it found to be possible frivolous or bad faith efforts.
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Justices uphold modification of physical custody to father

February 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices granted transfer today to Mariea L. Best v. Russell C. Best, No. 06S05-1102-CV-73, and affirmed a special judge’s decision to grant a father physical custody of his daughter M.B. They held the trial court made the necessary findings to support the modification.
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COA reverses father's visitation of adopted daughter

February 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Although one Indiana Court of Appeals judge concurred that a biological father’s petition granting visitation with his daughter should be reversed, he urged legislators and the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider the issues raised in this case to “avoid equally unjust results in future cases.”
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Court clarifies rules relating to filing deadlines

January 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Filing deadlines are important for attorneys in any case. But some recent confusion in a child custody appeal brought to light some uncertainty about how the state’s appellate rules compute some of those deadlines when “non-business days” or “calendar days” are applied to the motions practices before the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
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COA offers suggestion about judicial notice rule

December 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A paternity and child custody case has given the Indiana Court of Appeals a chance to examine a newly amended evidence rule for the first time, while simultaneously offering guidance to trial judges about using publicly accessible information to dispose of cases.
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Justices vacate adoption decree

December 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
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.
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Court reverses because of DCS notification policy

December 7, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the parental right termination decision made by a trial court, ruling that both the court and Indiana Department of Child Services in Porter County denied a biological father his due process by not notifying him of CHINS proceedings that ultimately led to his paternal rights being taken away.
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Judges uphold denying visitation to ex-partner

December 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that lawmakers didn’t intend to allow parents to establish joint custody with third parties under Indiana Code Section 31-17-2-3 by simply filing a joint petition with a trial court. Doing so would allow parents and third parties to circumvent the requirements of the Adoption Act.
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Diversity issues affect family lawRestricted Content

November 10, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While family law cases can be complicated – especially if children are involved and a case has ended up in front of a judge after the parties couldn’t come to an agreement on their own through mediation – the issues only get more complicated when fundamental differences exist between the parties.
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Juvenile's records not protected by counselor/client privilege

October 20, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Howard Superior Court erred in finding that the counselor/client privilege prevented the admission of a son’s counseling records during a custody modification hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Judges: no private cause allowed for not reporting abuse, neglect

June 10, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Standing behind a decision made by appellate judges about 20 years ago, the Indiana Court of Appeals has again declined to interpret state statute in a way that allows for a private right of action for failing to report child abuse or neglect.
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