Family Law

Ex-husband needed to take action to modify judgment, COA rules

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man challenging the proposed value of his pension’s surviving spouse benefit in a dissolution proceeding had to file his own Ind. Trial Rule 60(B) motion and not rely on the same motion filed by his ex-wife, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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CASA Day at Statehouse set for Monday

March 3, 2015
IL Staff
Hundreds of Indiana court-appointed special advocates will gather Monday for CASA Day at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. The event will be at noon in the north atrium.
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COA affirms cutting off mother’s communication with daughter

February 25, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The court record is replete with evidence supporting a juvenile court’s decision that a teenage girl would be better off if communication and visits with her mother were terminated, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday. The girl, in foster care, often had detrimental visits with her mother.
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Indiana same-sex couple files suit to get both names listed on birth certificate

February 13, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A married lesbian couple filed a complaint in federal court charging Indiana is violating their constitutional rights by not listing both their names on their child’s birth certificate.
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Appeals court strips grandmother’s visitation, cites grandchild’s adoption

February 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Court of Appeals panel Friday stripped a maternal grandparent of visitation rights, finding she had no standing to seek visitation. The parents of the child had divorced, and the father remarried shortly after the mother’s death.
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Ruling extends standing in adoption cases to those with ‘lawful custody’

January 14, 2015
Dave Stafford
The sometimes-bitter litigation between a child’s adoptive parent and her grandparents who raised her from a young age yielded a decision from the state’s highest court that family law experts believe may represent a significant shift in adoption cases.
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Zoeller: Use depositions over interrogatories in family law matters

January 14, 2015
We’ve all received the responses to interrogatories so doctored by opposing counsel there is virtually no substance, or so littered with objections and qualifications that the answer is meaningless. So for many years my solution to this problem has been to take depositions. I will outline a few of the reasons more family law practitioners should do the same.
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Protective order filings rise during past 9 years

January 14, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorneys say the 25 percent increase reflects more understanding and less victim blaming.
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Appeals court remands grandparents’ visitation order

January 13, 2015
Dave Stafford
Grandparents rightly were awarded visitation with their granddaughter after their daughter died, but the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday a trial court abused its discretion in establishing the amount of time grandparents could spend with the child.
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Judge dissents on reversal of CHINS adjudication

January 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A father who claimed his due process rights were violated when his daughter was adjudicated as a child in need of services before the conclusion of a fact-finding hearing won his appeal before the Court of Appeals Wednesday. But one judge believed that the trial court correctly found the girl to be a CHINS.
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Justices vacate adoption by stepdad in win for grandparents

December 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday stripped the adoption of a child by her stepfather, ruling that maternal grandparents who had been primary caregivers early in her life were wrongly denied an opportunity to consent to or contest the adoption.
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COA: Terminating guardianship is in child’s best interest

December 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a contentious guardianship case involving a child’s father and her former stepgrandmother, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the guardianship should be dissolved and the father should have custody of the child.
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Appeals court affirms contempt over parenting-time violation

December 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
A mother who was found in contempt of court for failing to abide by court-ordered parenting time provisions got no relief Tuesday from the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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COA reverses custody evaluation granted to grandparents

November 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
A trial court that expressed in the record reservations about the legal status of granting a visitation evaluation sought by grandparents of children in the care or another grandparent had those doubts confirmed Wednesday when the Court of Appeals reversed.
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Delay of protection order hearing called ‘disturbing’

November 17, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals called a trial court’s delay in setting a hearing on a petition for a permanent protection order “disturbing” and found the lower court’s denial of the order did not comply with the state’s trial rules.
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COA: Court must rule on incarcerated father’s request for counsel

October 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the adoption of a child by the maternal grandparents after finding the trial court violated the father’s due process rights when it did not rule on his request for counsel.
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Majority reverses termination of incarcerated father’s parental rights

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the state did not prove that the parental rights of a man – who learned he was a father while incarcerated pending trial – should be terminated, two of the three judges on a Court of Appeals panel reversed.
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Court reverses $1,660 attorney fee award in parenting time action

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because there is nothing in the record to show the court considered the resources of the parties when it awarded a guardian $1,660 in attorney fees, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Wednesday.
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Daughter’s cheating negates father’s obligation to pay for college

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that the “F” a Purdue University student received after her teacher discovered the student plagiarized comments from other students amounted to disciplinary action from the school, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the decision that her father no longer had to pay a portion of her school expenses based on a previous court order.
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SCOTUS denial of cases opens door to new same-sex-couple issues

October 22, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Indiana, the courts will have to settle issues and questions that will arise in other areas, such as family law.
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Rush OKs media coverage for National Adoption Day

October 16, 2014
IL Staff
Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush has approved still photography, video and audio coverage of uncontested adoption proceedings in honor of National Adoption Day Nov. 22.
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School discipline summit highlights problem of suspensions and expulsions

October 9, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Speaking to a group of Indiana educators, school administrators and legal professionals, retired Judge Irene Sullivan drew applause when she stated school suspensions and expulsions should be illegal under federal law.
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Mother loses custody after COA rules trial court had jurisdiction

October 7, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A mother’s argument that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to grant full custody of her daughter to the girl’s father did not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals, which found an agreement between the parents gave the court jurisdiction.
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Court properly denied grandmother visitation rights

September 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court properly ruled on a case as a petition for grandparent visitation, not as a modification of already established visitation, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday. The judges affirmed the denial of a paternal grandmother’s request for visitation.
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Justices affirm adoption despite father’s untimely appeal

September 25, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court in its decision affirming the adoption of a girl first tackled the issue of appellate jurisdiction to entertain the biological father’s appeal.
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  1. 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)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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