Family Law

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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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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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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