Family Law

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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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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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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