Custody

Statute granting DCS immunity applies to nearly all of family’s claims

October 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving the Department of Child Services before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday provided the court with two issues of first impression – the interpretation of a statute relating to the agency, and the liberty interests that may reside with extended family members involved in the lawsuit.
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Judicial Conference moves parenting time guidelines forward, minus parenting coordination

September 19, 2012
IL Staff
The board of directors of the Indiana Judicial Conference approved proposed changes to the state’s parenting time guidelines Sept. 14 and sent them to the Supreme Court for review. However, the guidelines were sent on without any suggestions on parenting coordination.
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Mom’s progress leads court to reverse termination

August 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Grant County mother who lost parental rights to twin children won a reversal of the termination order after the Indiana Court of Appeals noted her progress in areas of concern to the Department of Child Services.
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Court of Appeals orders trial court to re-evaluate child support order

August 9, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the part of a custody order modifying child support, finding the trial court miscalculated the mother’s current income and made other errors.
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COA: mentally handicapped parents not immune from termination proceedings

June 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to grant a mother’s request to carve out an exception in involuntary termination of parental rights cases for parents who are mentally handicapped. The Tippecanoe County mother claimed her children shouldn’t be removed from her care because of her mental faculties.
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Question about residency leads to reversal in insurance case

April 23, 2012
IL Staff
Because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether a teenager lived with his mother or father, an appellate panel has remanded the matter for trial.
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Trial court erred in modifying custody in favor of father

March 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court’s decision to grant a father’s motion to modify custody and prevent his ex-wife from relocating with their son was clearly erroneous, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded in reversing the decision. The lower court ruling virtually ignored the immense benefit the mother’s new position in Tennessee would bring to her and her son.
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Court rules on child support, parenting time modifications

March 27, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled on a case involving parenting time and child support issues between a mother and father.
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Judges affirm change in custody

March 19, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the modification of a custody order giving the father primary custody of his son, finding the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in deciding that the boy’s physical and mental/academic maturation constituted a substantial change warranting the change in custody.
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Women's Bench Bar Retreat to host COA

February 27, 2012
IL Staff
The Court of Appeals of Indiana will hear oral argument in In RE: The Paternity of K.S. at noon March 2, at Culver Cove Resort & Conference Center.
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On rehearing, COA affirms original opinion

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
On petition for rehearing, the state Department of Child Services claims that the appellate court imposed an undue burden upon the agency by recognizing that DCS has to make a prima facie showing regarding current conditions before the parent is obliged to come forward with evidence.
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Court erred in granting change of judge

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the grant of a stepfather’s motion for change of venue from the judge, holding the man is not a party to the underlying paternity action and therefore isn’t entitled to a change of venue from the judge under Indiana Trial Rule 76.
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Comment sought on proposed changes to parenting time guidelines

February 8, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Judicial Center’s Domestic Relations Committee is seeking comment on proposed changes to the parenting time guidelines, which includes parenting coordination guidelines.
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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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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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