Family Law

Court prevents mother from relocating to Hawaii with daughter

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a trial court Wednesday that it is not in the best interests of a child to move to Hawaii with her mother and stepfather.
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Court affirms CHINS finding of child abandoned by parents

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected arguments by parents that their son should have been found to be a child in need of services under Indiana Code 31-34-1-6 because he substantially endangers his own health or the health of his family members. The appellate judges affirmed the CHINS finding under I.C. 31-34-1-1 that the parents had abandoned the child once he was placed in an emergency shelter.
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Automatic modification violates custody statute, COA rules

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s order automatically awarding custody of a minor child to the father was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds the lower court’s decision violated the state’s custody modification statute.
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Can parents sue DCS? Yes, divided justices rule

January 1, 2014
Dave Stafford
A sharply divided Indiana Supreme Court decision that a family may sue the state’s child protection agency for negligence is sure to resonate within the Department of Child Services, attorneys familiar with the case said.
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Appeals court affirms out-of-state placement of child with father

December 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A mother whose son was placed with his father in California after the Department of Child Services found her children to be children in need of services failed to convince a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals that the placement was erroneous or that the DCS didn’t make a reasonable effort to preserve the family.
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Wife barred from inheritance because of adulterous relationship

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that a woman’s relationship outside of her marriage prevents her from inheriting from her deceased husband’s estate.
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Justices decline to apply dollar for dollar credit for Social Security retirement benefits

December 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday declined to revisit previous caselaw regarding crediting Social Security Retirement benefits to a noncustodial parent’s child support obligation. The justices affirmed the trial court’s decision to include the benefits in the custodial parent’s weekly adjusted income.
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Mother who was abused may be required to help fund father's supervised visitation

November 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a domestic violence victim whose earnings since have increased may have to pay for supervised child-visitation services that the father is unable to afford.
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Court properly declined to modify spousal maintenance agreement

November 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An ex-wife must pay her husband $4,000 a month in spousal maintenance under an agreement she signed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, affirming a trial court’s decision to deny the woman’s request to modify the maintenance.
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Appeals panel rules former same-sex partner has standing to seek visitation

October 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A former same-sex domestic partner of a woman who gave birth to a child has standing to seek visitation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, reversing a trial court in an opinion begging lawmakers to speak to the rights of same-sex couples in parenting disputes.
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Man didn’t prove ex-wife misappropriated child support payments

October 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Sidestepping a question of first impression in a child support case, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the modification of child support due to insufficient evidence. The father in this case believed his ex-wife was using child support money to fund her veterinary practice.
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Commission on Courts to look at confidentiality of paternity cases

October 17, 2013
IL Staff
The Commission on Courts will tackle several issues at its meeting Oct. 21, including the confidentiality of juvenile court records in juvenile paternity cases.
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Ex-wife not entitled to half of pension earned after divorce

October 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a trial court did not impermissibly modify a property settlement agreement or decree, but simply clarified that the intent of the parties was to divide the marital property acquired during the marriage and before the final date of separation.
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IU Maurer to participate in national family mediation study

October 14, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana University Maurer School of Law and IU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences have been awarded a four-year, $763,686 grant from the National Institute of Justice to study safety concerns in family mediation.
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COA still finds supervised visitation argument moot

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After acknowledging that a father did file a reply brief arguing the issue of supervised parenting time was not moot, the Indiana Court of Appeals on rehearing still found his argument to be moot.
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Participation in travel soccer league supports modifying custody

October 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a mother’s request to modify a custody order entered in 2007 when her children were in grade school, finding their participation in travel soccer leagues and the distance between the parents’ homes warrants a change.
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Guardian registry pilot to launch

October 9, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana soon could break new ground with the introduction of one of the nation’s first databases of guardians and their wards. The development is raising hopes for improved oversight of vulnerable populations along with concerns about their privacy.
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Attorney emerges as leader in international adoptions

October 9, 2013
Dan Human, IBJ Staff
Michele Jackson marched into an internship in 1999 hoping to deliver a swift blow to international injustices against women and children. The 24-year-old Indiana University law student didn’t realize how unpleasant the topics would be.
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Justices: Child support agreement must apply changing guidelines

September 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A father whose annual income included varying bonuses and commissions is obligated to provide child support payments in line with evolving guidelines, despite a support agreement made a year earlier than the rules were revised, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.
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Kohlhaas: Notable changes to Indiana’s Parenting Time Guidelines

July 17, 2013
Michael Kohlhaas points out notable changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, including to school breaks.
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Dissolution of same-sex marriages a legal puzzle for lawyers, judges

July 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana statute makes clear the state’s position on same-sex marriage, but it also leaves murky the rights of Hoosier couples who, despite the law, are legally married.
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COA: Surrogate can not petition to disestablish maternity

July 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A married woman who acted as a surrogate for another couple cannot petition to disestablish her maternity because it would cause the child to be “declared a child without a mother,” the Indiana Court of Appeals determined on interlocutory appeal.
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Justices slam agreement to no parenting time, no child support

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court had harsh words Tuesday for parents and attorneys who enter into agreements that stipulate giving up parenting time in lieu of paying child support. There must be extraordinary circumstances to justify denying parenting time.
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Ex-wife not required to pay attorney fees under FDCPA

May 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman does not have to pay the attorney fees for her ex-husband after she sought more than $135,000 in owed child support after he failed to pay for 16 years, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The trial court ordered her to pay the fees under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
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Appeals court affirms terminating mother’s parental rights

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother who was close to reunification with her three children, deemed children in need of services, until she battered her fiancé in front of them had the termination of her parental rights affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

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  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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