Family Law

New national act would address adult guardianship matters

November 10, 2010
Michael Hoskins
New law changes are on the horizon in order to create more uniform guardianship laws throughout the country and reduce conflicts between states.
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Update: Professor who taught at Indy Law since 1977 dies

October 27, 2010
IL Staff
Professor emeritus Henry C. Karlson, who taught criminal law at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis for more than 30 years, died Monday of cancer.
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Juvenile's records not protected by counselor/client privilege

October 20, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Howard Superior Court erred in finding that the counselor/client privilege prevented the admission of a son’s counseling records during a custody modification hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Pending dissolution settlement not enforceable upon a party's death

October 12, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
A property-settlement document is not an enforceable contract if one of the parties dies before the dissolution action is finalized, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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COA rules on military benefits to former spouses

October 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a military spouse may not, by a post-decree waiver of retirement pay in favor of disability benefits or combat-related special compensation, unilaterally and voluntarily reduce the benefits awarded to the former spouse in a dissolution decree.
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Guardians program fulfills needRestricted Content

September 1, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
To help address the need for guardians for patients of a northwest Indiana hospital, Lake County Judge Diane Kavadias-Schneider – with others in the court and with permission from Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard – worked on a guardianship program that involved temporary volunteer guardians.
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Adult guardianship programs continue to operate with little fundingRestricted Content

September 1, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Courts around Indiana have started their own guardianship programs based on the Lake County model program in Allen, Elkhart, Lawrence, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, and Vanderburgh counties.
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Appellate courts address estate tax, trust division regarding adoptions

September 1, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
As adoptions have become more common and more accepted for expanding the family tree, courts have had to address some legal matters clarifying those familial ties.
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Justices criticize attorney's decision making on publicationRestricted Content

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
State statutes about adoption and grandparent visitation may be important for Indiana trial courts when considering custody issues, but courts have long held that foundational due process rights still apply and can’t be sacrificed.
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High court privately reprimands attorney

August 30, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has privately reprimanded an attorney for improperly revealing information about a former client when socializing with friends.
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COA concerned about some details in termination case

August 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In affirming the involuntary termination of a mother’s parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted some troubling details involving the case.
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Attorney waits for plea agreement decision

August 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Anderson attorney Samuel Hasler is still waiting to see if his plea agreement regarding child pornography charges will be accepted.
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Prominent family law attorney dies

July 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A well-known and longtime family law attorney in Indianapolis died July 7 at the age of 80.
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Court affirms felony nonsupport of a dependent conviction

July 6, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
A man claiming he proved he was unable to pay child support because of his numerous incarcerations did not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals. In its ruling today, the court relied on Becker v. Becker to affirm the man’s conviction of Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent child.
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COA balances free speech vs. minor's privacy rights

June 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was faced with competing constitutional rights today: a mother’s right to free political speech versus her daughter’s right to privacy as to whether her father allegedly sexually abused her.
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Judges: no private cause allowed for not reporting abuse, neglect

June 10, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Standing behind a decision made by appellate judges about 20 years ago, the Indiana Court of Appeals has again declined to interpret state statute in a way that allows for a private right of action for failing to report child abuse or neglect.
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Justices asked to revisit Indian family law

June 9, 2010
Michael Hoskins
At least one Indiana Court of Appeals judge believes the state’s highest court should revisit how it applies a three-decade old statute to tribal Indian family adoption issues inside Indiana.
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Family law attorney to receive national award

June 2, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
For doing pro bono work and for promoting pro bono work among others in the legal community, an Indianapolis attorney has learned she will receive a national award at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco in August.
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Judge, others honored around Law DayRestricted Content

April 28, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
The Evansville Bar Association recognized a judge and others in the legal profession during two annual events that take place near Law Day.
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Courts study changing surrogacy lawRestricted Content

April 28, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Surrogacy law in Indiana is at a crossroads because of scientific and technological advances that give people more options to start a family.
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Economy adjusts child supportRestricted Content

April 28, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
It used to be fairly easy to prove someone wouldn't pay child support because they didn't want to. But it hasn't gone unnoticed that there are more people who want to pay child support but simply can't.
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Committee seeks comment on parenting time

April 20, 2010
IL Staff
The Judicial Conference of Indiana's Domestic Relations Committee is accepting comments on the state's parenting time guidelines as it reviews them. The committee is encouraging comments from judicial officers, attorneys, parents, professionals who work with children, and members of the public.
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Family courts for pro se parentsRestricted Content

March 3, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While family courts have been around in Indiana for the last decade, the counties that have them continue to make changes to improve access to justice to all litigants who are in the system.
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IBA: Legislative Committee takes action on grandparents rights

March 3, 2010
From IndyBar
The Indiana General Assembly grappled with some hefty family law issues during the recent legislative session and the IBA was up to the challenge.
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What the ISBA is watching this session

January 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana State Bar Association is watching several bills introduced in this 2010 session, including probate and family law matters.
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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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