Family Law

Statute granting DCS immunity applies to nearly all of family’s claims

October 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving the Department of Child Services before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday provided the court with two issues of first impression – the interpretation of a statute relating to the agency, and the liberty interests that may reside with extended family members involved in the lawsuit.
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Judicial Conference moves parenting time guidelines forward, minus parenting coordination

September 19, 2012
IL Staff
The board of directors of the Indiana Judicial Conference approved proposed changes to the state’s parenting time guidelines Sept. 14 and sent them to the Supreme Court for review. However, the guidelines were sent on without any suggestions on parenting coordination.
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DCS launching pilot to address children with mental health issues

September 18, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Department of Child Services announced Monday that it will fund a two-month pilot program that will utilize local services to provide help for juveniles with mental health issues.
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Concerns rise as revised parenting time guidelines near completion

August 15, 2012
Dave Stafford
A first-ever review of Indiana’s Parenting Time Guidelines is nearing completion. Among the proposed changes: New language dealing with online communication between parents and children, and revised rules regarding overnight visitation.
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Change in emancipation law brings uncertainty

August 15, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A difference in paternity and divorce language has attorneys questioning the Legislature's action regarding petitions for educational support.
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Indiana AFCC chapter has first meeting this month

August 15, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, a national organization that brings a holistic approach to family law, has authorized the creation of an Indiana chapter.
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Doctor owed no duty to release prenatal records to adoptive parents

August 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
A New York couple who adopted a child born in Lake County lost their appeal of an unsuccessful negligence claim against a doctor who did not provide requested prenatal records that would have revealed the child’s significant brain abnormalities before the adoption was finalized.
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Mom’s progress leads court to reverse termination

August 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Grant County mother who lost parental rights to twin children won a reversal of the termination order after the Indiana Court of Appeals noted her progress in areas of concern to the Department of Child Services.
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Court of Appeals orders trial court to re-evaluate child support order

August 9, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the part of a custody order modifying child support, finding the trial court miscalculated the mother’s current income and made other errors.
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Justices: Ex-wife must agree to lower sales price

July 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously held that a trial court had no authority to modify a property agreement made by ex-spouses and that the ex-wife is entitled by law to refuse to waive a provision that neither party had to accept a sale that was below specified minimums.
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Mom's contempt judgment affirmed in educational support dispute

July 3, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a trial court’s finding that a mother was in contempt for violating a court order on educational support for her college-age daughter and that she pay a recalculated proportion of those costs and the father’s attorney fees.
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Appellate judges affirm previous decision in paternity dispute

July 3, 2012
Dave Stafford

A divided Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday reaffirmed its original opinion in In Re: The Matter of the Paternity of S.C.: K.C. (Appellant), and C.C. (Appellee), and B.H. (Appellee-Intervenor), 30A01-1107-JP-322, in which the appellate court affirmed the Hancock Circuit Court’s grant of B.H.’s verified petition for relief from judgment for fraud upon the court.

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Supreme Court emancipation, support ruling draws sharp dissent

July 2, 2012
Dave Stafford
A 3-2 Indiana Supreme Court decision in a case involving a child’s emancipation and a father’s contribution toward her education resulted in a tough dissent from two veteran justices.
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COA: mentally handicapped parents not immune from termination proceedings

June 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to grant a mother’s request to carve out an exception in involuntary termination of parental rights cases for parents who are mentally handicapped. The Tippecanoe County mother claimed her children shouldn’t be removed from her care because of her mental faculties.
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Appeal affirms denial of emancipation; includes mother in support

June 15, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a Floyd Superior Court ruling denying emancipation of a 19-year-old, but sent the case back to the trial court for recalculation of her support payments to include her mother as well as her father.
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Trial court erred in modifying custody in favor of father

March 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court’s decision to grant a father’s motion to modify custody and prevent his ex-wife from relocating with their son was clearly erroneous, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded in reversing the decision. The lower court ruling virtually ignored the immense benefit the mother’s new position in Tennessee would bring to her and her son.
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Appellate judges disagree about dismissal of paternity petition

March 29, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court in dismissing a paternity petition, but one judge dissented, saying the ruling now leaves the child with no legally recognized father.
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Judges affirm change in custody

March 19, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the modification of a custody order giving the father primary custody of his son, finding the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in deciding that the boy’s physical and mental/academic maturation constituted a substantial change warranting the change in custody.
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Judges reverse adoption completed while mother was out of state

March 14, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the grant of an adoption petition by a child’s paternal grandparents, finding the matter was surrounded by irregular and fraudulent circumstances.
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Women's Bench Bar Retreat to host COA

February 27, 2012
IL Staff
The Court of Appeals of Indiana will hear oral argument in In RE: The Paternity of K.S. at noon March 2, at Culver Cove Resort & Conference Center.
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Nonsupport of dependent enhancement not based on number of children

February 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that under Indiana Code 35-46-1-5(a), the enhancement of nonsupport of a dependent child to a Class C felony because of an arrearage of $15,000 or more is triggered by the dollar amount owed, regardless of how many children the parent has.
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On rehearing, COA affirms original opinion

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
On petition for rehearing, the state Department of Child Services claims that the appellate court imposed an undue burden upon the agency by recognizing that DCS has to make a prima facie showing regarding current conditions before the parent is obliged to come forward with evidence.
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Mother's prior statement undermines argument on appeal

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
A mother who appealed a court’s order acknowledging that her ex-husband is the father of her child cannot prove that the court abused its discretion.
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Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over child support

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In addressing whether a trial court in Indiana erred in dismissing a woman’s petition for modification of child support previously entered in Maryland, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted an incongruity in the statutory scheme that leads to the “somewhat absurd result in this case.”
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Comment sought on proposed changes to parenting time guidelines

February 8, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Judicial Center’s Domestic Relations Committee is seeking comment on proposed changes to the parenting time guidelines, which includes parenting coordination guidelines.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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