Family Law

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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COA affirms stripping ‘helicopter mom’ of custody of teen son

September 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The decision to modify custody to give a father sole legal and physical custody of his 15-year-old son was not clearly erroneous, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In affirming the decision, the judges noted that the mother is overbearing and has forced the teen to participate in activities he has little interest in.
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Appeals court reversal reunites mother and children

September 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Grant County trial court abused its discretion in ordering the appointment of guardians for two children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday, reversing a guardianship order and instructing the trial court to reunite the children with their mother.
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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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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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