Family Law

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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COA: Mother should have challenged income evidence at trial

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother who claimed that the record doesn’t support her actual or current income after her ex-husband was granted sole custody of her children should have brought up her concerns at trial, not on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Court affirms giving father custody after mother denies parenting time

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A LaPorte County mother’s decision to cut off parenting time of her three children with their father supports the trial court’s order that the father have sole legal and physical custody of the children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA affirms mom’s termination of rights despite ‘clean screen’ given to judge

May 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis mother with a history of drug abuse and domestic violence failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse the termination of her parental rights, even though she introduced herself to the presiding judge after oral arguments and had a student deliver to the judge evidence of a clean drug screen taken a day earlier.
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Child support case presents issue of first impression

April 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was presented with an issue for the first time: whether a child support order should be reduced for the time a child is living on campus when a court has found that the child has repudiated the non-custodial parent, and on that basis refused to enter an educational support order.
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COA reverses vacation of grandparent visitation

March 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even though a grandmother lacked standing to pursue a grandparent visitation order when it was granted, the trial court erred in later vacating the order, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The grandchildren’s guardians’ objections to the grandmother’s lack of standing were waived when they failed to appeal the original order.
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COA affirms changing boy’s last name

March 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The mother of a 5-year-old boy was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the Marion Circuit Court erred in granting his father’s petition to change the boy’s surname to his last name.
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Justices take child support case

March 19, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to just one case last week, a not-for-publication decision out of the Indiana Court of Appeals dealing with a parent’s financial obligations to his children.
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Court affirms reduction of support ordered in another state

March 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
A court order reducing a father’s child support obligation from that set by a Pennsylvania court was affirmed Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Justices remand for more proceedings on grandparent visitation order

March 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After finding a grandparent visitation order entered in Johnson County is voidable because of defects, the Indiana Supreme Court sent the case back to the trial court for new findings and conclusions without hearing new evidence.
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Amendment to law allows father to terminate child support

February 28, 2013
An amendment to Indiana Code last year lowering the age child support may be terminated to 19 trumped a previous dissolution decree that said a father must pay support for his son until he turns 21, the Indiana Court of Appeals has decided.
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Bills on magistrates; custody and visitation pass House

February 21, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana House of Representatives passed House Bill 1041 Thursday morning 96-0. The bill addresses petitions to modify custody and visitation involving children who have been abused or neglected.
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COA upholds mother’s relocation to Illinois

January 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court’s decision to allow a mother and her two children to move to Illinois after marrying her fiancé was not an abuse of discretion by the court because the father didn’t show how the move would have a negative effect on the children.
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Justices adopt changes to parenting time guidelines

January 10, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has issued a 33-page order that spells out the changes to the state’s parenting time rule and guidelines. The amendments take effect March 1, 2013.
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In test of 2012 emancipation law, COA affirms denial of college expenses

January 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
A statutory change in the age of emancipation for child support, except for educational support, does not preclude courts from modifying educational support obligations when parents demonstrate changes in their financial circumstances, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Prenuptial agreements change with time but remain tricky

January 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
Prenuptial agreements are not written to be fair. Nor should they be, according to some Indiana attorneys who draft them.
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Attorneys coping with more domestic violence cases

January 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Domestic violence has been increasing in recent years along with what family law attorneys are observing as more anger and more meanness.
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Indiana GAL/CASA program gets national grant

December 12, 2012
IL Staff
Indiana’s State Office of the GAL/CASA has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. The money will be used to support local programs that provide volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children in Indiana.
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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