Family Law

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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David, Rush appointed as liaisons for juvenile program

December 10, 2012
IL Staff
Chief Justice Brent Dickson has appointed Justices Steven David and Loretta H. Rush to serve as the Indiana Supreme Court’s liaison representatives to the Court Improvement Program executive committee.
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Justices: COA overreached on reversing trial court custody ruling

November 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Court of Appeals got it wrong when it reversed a trial court custody modification in favor of a child’s father, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in one of the first opinions joined by Justice Loretta Rush.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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