Family Law

COA affirms child should be raised with half-siblings

August 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the petition to adopt a child by a couple who have already adopted her half-siblings. Although the couple temporarily dropped their petition to adopt, the judges agreed it is in the child’s best interests to be raised with her siblings.
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Court affirms boy should stay in Indiana with father

August 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that its decision should not be viewed as a punishment for either parent, a trial court denied a mother’s request to move to California with  her son and ordered the boy remain in Indiana with his father. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Friday, finding the father presented evidence that supported the trial court’s decision.
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Father’s lack of parenting experience does not support CHINS finding

August 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the adjudication of a toddler as a child in need of services after finding the Department of Child Services did not establish that the child’s father is unlikely to meet the child’s needs absent court intervention based on his lack of parenting experience and previous diagnosis of having post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Judge ‘troubled’ by delays in relocation case

August 7, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday upheld a mother’s decision to relocate from Indiana to Georgia with her daughter before a court hearing was held on the matter. But one judge on the panel found the court’s reliance on the time the mother and child lived in Georgia to support its decision “makes a mockery” of the relocation statute.
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Grant applications for children, family projects due Aug. 14

July 16, 2014
IL Staff
The Indiana Court Improvement Program is accepting applications for projects designed to improve the well-being, safety and permanency of children and families involved in child in need of services and termination of parental rights proceedings.
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Reed: ‘Gray divorce revolution’ alters traditional estate planning

July 16, 2014
Estate planning for “gray divorcees” presents unique challenges for their legal and financial planning professionals.
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Advocates: Suit over unpaid subsidies emblematic of DCS' shortcomings

July 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
Adoptive families who’ve sued the state and likened the Department of Child Services to deadbeat parents for failing to pay promised subsidies to people who adopt foster children aren’t alone in feeling slighted, child and adoption advocates say.
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Andrews: Can you protect the stepparent bond after a divorce?

July 16, 2014
A subsequent divorce between a biological parent and stepparent can have a devastating impact on the stepparent/stepchild relationship that often rivals that of a biological parent and child. This relationship is so significant that nine of our states recognize stepparents as having a right to seek visitation of a child.
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Personal, practical reasons guide adult adoptions

July 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
Children become consenting adults when they turn 18, but that’s also the age at which a few will seek to legally become someone’s son or daughter. Adult adoptions are fairly rare, but they’re sought for a host of reasons from the sentimental to the sensible, family law attorneys say.
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Court rejects automatic change in custody for moving mom

July 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
A mother will not automatically lose custody of one of her children if she chooses to relocate to Texas, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, reversing in part a trial court order in favor of the child’s presumptive father.
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Divided COA reverses grandparent visitation order

July 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
Indiana Court of Appeals judges split on their views of the best interests of a child Tuesday, reversing a trial court order granting visitation to the paternal grandparents of a 4-year-old whose father committed suicide before the child was born.
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St. Joseph Family Justice Center marks 10th year with national event

July 15, 2014
IL Staff
The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County, a one-stop help center for victims of domestic violence and their children, is marking the 10th anniversary of its founding with public events and training sessions as it hosts the National Family Justice Center Initiative Wednesday through Friday.
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Justices: Some employers don't have to cover birth control

June 30, 2014
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.
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COA affirms order that child should remain in Indiana with father

June 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Although the trial court erred in concluding that a Johnson County mother did not relocate to South Carolina for legitimate reasons, the court correctly ordered her son to remain in Indiana with his father, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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COA affirms order mother attend psychotherapy

June 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s decision to impose psychotherapy in a marital dissolution and custody order.
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No abuse by trial court in modifying maintenance payment terms

June 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied a man’s petition to revoke spousal maintenance.
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COA affirms remand to prior judge over father’s objection

May 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A special judge appointed in a paternity case ruled correctly that matters in the case remanded by the Court of Appeals should be heard by the prior judge who heard the evidence, the appellate court held in a second appeal on the matter.
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COA rules natural parents’ consent unnecessary in adoption

May 20, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl

Once a trial court found a child’s natural parents to be unfit, the court did not need to revisit that finding at an adoption hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

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Court orders hearing on child’s best interests

April 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed an order giving a father physical custody of his child. The child’s maternal grandparents had assumed guardianship of the child following the death of the child’s mother. 
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Judges deny stepfather’s request to adopt children

April 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A mother’s deliberate decision to thwart the attempts of her ex-husband to communicate with their two small children supports the trial court’s decision to deny her current husband’s attempt to adopt the children, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Tuesday.
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Reaching an agreement at the round table

April 23, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorneys find collaborative law allows families to craft their own future.
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Grandparents lose adoption appeal in first-impression case

April 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
Grandparents who filed late motions challenging a stepfather’s adoption of a 6-year-old are not entitled to relief based on their argument they didn’t receive legal notice, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a family law case raising two issues of first impression.
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Parallel parenting provision divides COA

April 22, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
In reversing a trial court’s modification of the custody agreement even though neither parent requested a change in custody, the Indiana Court of Appeals split over how much discretion a Parallel Parenting Time Order grants a court.
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Judges uphold custody award of non-biological child to stepfather

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an award granting a man primary physical custody of his child with his ex-wife, as well as her daughter from a previous relationship.
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Judges disagree whether mother’s relocation is in good faith

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday couldn’t agree whether a northern Indiana mother’s decision to relocate with her two children was made in good faith. The majority upheld her request to relocate.
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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  5. 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.

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