Family Law

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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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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  1. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  2. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  3. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  4. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  5. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

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