Family Law

COA restores mother’s parental rights after incarceration

November 10, 2016
Olivia Covington
A mother’s parental rights to her two children will be restored after the Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday that the state Department of Child Services failed to prove that removing the children from their mother was in their best interests.
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Appellate panel reverses parenting time for remote ex-boyfriend

November 9, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court order granting a man visitation with his ex-girlfriend’s daughter, concluding that third-party visitation should only be granted if it is in the best interests of the child.
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COA awards custody to father, orders assets redivided

October 28, 2016
Olivia Covington
After a couple’s contentious battle in court over custody of their children and possession of their home, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Friday their marital estate had not been correctly divided. However, the appellate court affirmed the decision to award custody of the children to their father.
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Domestic relations, tax sale case designations to change

September 26, 2016
IL Staff
Domestic relations case-type designations will change in 2017, from “DR” for all case types to “DC” for cases in which children are involved and “DN” for those without children. The change was announced in an Indiana Supreme Court order issued Friday.
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Property award to ex-girlfriend of longtime boyfriend affirmed

September 14, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court correctly awarded certain property to a woman who filed a complaint against her longtime partner for unjust enrichment after the two broke up after a 17-year relationship, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Justices reinstate father’s parental rights

August 16, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court’s findings do not “clearly and convincingly support” its decision to terminate a father’s parental rights to his son based on it being in the best interests of the boy. In fact, the findings show that the father and son have a bond and often spend time together, the Indiana Supreme Court found Tuesday.
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State fighting birth certificate ruling

August 15, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Married same-sex female couples who challenged Indiana’s refusal to recognize the non-birth mothers on their children’s birth certificates reiterate that they want to be treated in the same manner as heterosexual couples – no more, no less. The state, which intends to appeal a ruling finding Indiana's paternity statutes to be unconstitutional, is first asking the judge to take another look at her ruling.
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COA affirms woman in same-sex relationship legal parent of child

August 15, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed a trial court’s conclusion that a lesbian couple who entered into a registered domestic partnership in California should be treated like married spouses. As such, the judges affirmed the award of joint legal custody and parenting time to the non-biological parent after the couple broke up.
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IU McKinney launching Child Advocacy Law Clinic

August 15, 2016
IL Staff
Students at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law will have the opportunity to work with Marion County’s Child Advocates starting this fall when the new Child Advocacy Law Clinic opens.
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Mother to be sanctioned for willfully denying parenting time

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A mother that has prevented her son from seeing his father since 2009 and purposefully disobeyed parenting time orders and contempt orders must be sanctioned, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA: Father should have custody of children

July 28, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Children who were afraid of their stepfather and whose behavior changed after their mother remarried should now be in the custody of their father, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday.
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Father must still pay part of son’s college expenses, COA holds

July 27, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed that a teenager has not repudiated his relationship with this estranged father and affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the boy, his mother, and his father must each pay a third of his college expenses.
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Safe Families effort wins favor in Legislature

July 27, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
A new law furthers the group’s power of attorney arrangement in order to keep kids out of the child welfare system.
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Eichholtz: Effects of opioid overdose on third-party custody issues

July 27, 2016
Opioid and heroin abuse or overdose commonly result in the temporary removal of a child from the custody of her natural parents; prevention of reunification with natural parents; or termination of parental rights. Thus, family law practitioners would be well suited to review the relevant statutes and case law involving custody and third-party custody proceedings, among other things.
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Christensen/Laurin: Should lawyers report child abuse learned in representation?

July 27, 2016
When — if ever — is it appropriate for an attorney to report child abuse learned through client representation? The answer centers on the difference between confidentiality and privilege.
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State's parenthood laws ruled unconstitutional

July 13, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana’s married lesbian parents win the right to be listed on their child’s birth certificate.
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Judge: Indiana’s parenthood statutes violate constitutional rights of same-sex couples

June 30, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana married same-sex couples have won the right to both be listed as parents on their children’s birth certificates.
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Justices: Divorced parents don't have to pay graduate school costs for their children

June 1, 2016
Scott Roberts
In a unanimous decision, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled divorced parents cannot be obligated to pay the graduate or professional school expenses of their adult children in a case where a mother and father were forced to share a child’s dental school expenses after she completed her undergraduate degree.
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Justices: Custody petition permitted during CHINS case

April 13, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed a trial court, ruling an aunt and uncle could bring a custody action despite a child in need of services case that was pending for the child in Posey Circuit Court.
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Lesbian spouses challenge Indiana birth certificate law

April 11, 2016
 Associated Press
An attorney for eight married lesbian couples argued Friday that the state of Indiana is discriminating against them by not allowing both women to be listed on their children's birth certificates, echoing a dispute that has led to similar lawsuits in several other states.
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Man gets to keep part of farming property

March 17, 2016
Scott Roberts
A man will get to keep part of his farming property after the Indiana Court of Appeals found appointing a commissioner for the property was an impermissible modification of his and his ex-wife’s divorce agreement.
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Indianapolis family law attorney Strain dies

February 19, 2016
IL Staff
An Indianapolis solo practitioner who was active leader in bar associations died Wednesday. Jana K. Strain was 51.
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Married lesbian couples seek birth certificate equality

January 13, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Lesbian couples in Indiana are learning the fight for state recognition did not stop with the legalization of same-sex marriage. The battle now has moved to parenthood.
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Collaborative divorce use lagging in Indiana

January 13, 2016
Dave Stafford
Lea Shelemey learned about collaborative divorce a dozen years ago when she heard what lawyers were doing in her native Alberta, Canada. She’s been sold ever since, but she wishes more lawyers were trained in the process and more clients were willing to take the option
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Ringlespaugh: Custody issues for parents of special-needs children

January 13, 2016
When deciding child custody in a situation involving a child with special needs, it is important for the courts, parents and attorneys to consider how these situations differ from families that do not have children with disabilities.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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