Family Law

Open house Thursday for court agency office

April 20, 2011
IL Staff
The Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau is holding an open house Thursday for its new offices in the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis. The 40-year-old court agency provides recommendations to the court for custody and visitation.
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Judges split on child support modification

March 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues, finding their decision regarding child support promotes “formalism over fairness and legalism over common sense.”
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Encouraging diversity in CASA programs

March 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Having volunteers and staff who can relate to families that interact with Court Appointed Special Advocates programs has proven invaluable to a number of county-level CASA programs in Indiana. Indianapolis-based Child Advocates Inc. received the National CASA Inclusion Award for its inclusion and diversity plan March 20 at the National CASA conference in Chicago.
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COA: Summons should notify of risk of default judgment

February 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Due process requires that a respondent in a dissolution proceeding be notified of the risk of default for not appearing or otherwise responding, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. The judges reversed a couple’s decree of dissolution, ruling it was void because the summons served on the wife was insufficient.
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DCS to impose 5 percent reduction for reimbursement in 2011

February 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Department of Child Services and IARCCA, an Association of Children and Family Services, announced their agreement today in a dispute regarding reimbursement rate cuts. The dispute led to a lawsuit filed in late 2009 between the two organizations.
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Justices adopt COA adoption holding, invite attorney fee motions

February 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer on a St. Joseph County adoption case and fully adopted a holding by the state’s intermediate appellate court. In doing so, the state justices invited the prevailing biological mother to request attorney fees because of what it found to be possible frivolous or bad faith efforts.
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Supreme Court hears arguments in victims' advocates subpoena case

February 17, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments today involving the subpoena of records from a domestic violence agency by a defendant who had been charged with two counts of Class A felony child molesting.
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Justices uphold modification of physical custody to father

February 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices granted transfer today to Mariea L. Best v. Russell C. Best, No. 06S05-1102-CV-73, and affirmed a special judge’s decision to grant a father physical custody of his daughter M.B. They held the trial court made the necessary findings to support the modification.
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Fundraiser to benefit Legal Aid in Tippecanoe County

February 8, 2011
IL Staff
The Legal Aid Outback lunch and auction will be held Feb. 23 at Outback Steakhouse in Lafayette. Proceeds from the event benefit Legal Aid Corporation of Tippecanoe County, a nonprofit that provides low-cost legal assistance to low-income county residents on family law matters.
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COA reverses father's visitation of adopted daughter

February 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Although one Indiana Court of Appeals judge concurred that a biological father’s petition granting visitation with his daughter should be reversed, he urged legislators and the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider the issues raised in this case to “avoid equally unjust results in future cases.”
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CASA group to receive national diversity award

February 4, 2011
IL Staff
The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association announced Thursday afternoon that it will honor Indianapolis-based Child Advocates Inc. with the National CASA Inclusion Award at their 30th Annual National CASA Conference in Chicago on March 20.
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Federal judge rules against state on immigrant paternity case

January 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Sitting at the crossroads between immigration law, paternity establishment, and the controversy on how the United States handles illegal immigrants, a federal judge in Indianapolis has ordered state health officials to stop denying unmarried immigrant parents without a Social Security number the ability to file an affidavit establishing paternity.
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Child support changes targeting the rich?

January 19, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A case before the Indiana Court of Appeals calls into question the constitutionality of the state’s new child support guidelines, challenging the revisions that last year altered the payment scheme for high-income earners and raised the ceiling on child support obligations.
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Courts offer CHINS facilitations

January 19, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Because mediations have become commonplace in family law cases, it may come as no surprise that a number of Indiana counties have been implementing a similar strategy to determine if a child is a child in need of services, or CHINS.
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Comments welcomed for many court rule amendments

January 18, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A multitude of Indiana court rules are being examined for potential revision, and the legal community has a chance to offer comment about how those changes are made.
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Court clarifies rules relating to filing deadlines

January 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Filing deadlines are important for attorneys in any case. But some recent confusion in a child custody appeal brought to light some uncertainty about how the state’s appellate rules compute some of those deadlines when “non-business days” or “calendar days” are applied to the motions practices before the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
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COA offers suggestion about judicial notice rule

December 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A paternity and child custody case has given the Indiana Court of Appeals a chance to examine a newly amended evidence rule for the first time, while simultaneously offering guidance to trial judges about using publicly accessible information to dispose of cases.
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Court rules on artificial insemination issues

December 27, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals found that a man who donated sperm can be found to be the father of only one of the two children conceived by artificial insemination.
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Court examines statute about paternity, child support

December 21, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on a matter of first impression today, analyzing a specific state statute relating to how a court can cancel child support arrearage after a man’s paternity is vacated based on new genetic testing.
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Justices vacate adoption decree

December 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ordered the adoption decree granted to paternal grandparents be vacated because they didn’t perform a diligent search for the biological mother.
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Judges uphold denying visitation to ex-partner

December 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that lawmakers didn’t intend to allow parents to establish joint custody with third parties under Indiana Code Section 31-17-2-3 by simply filing a joint petition with a trial court. Doing so would allow parents and third parties to circumvent the requirements of the Adoption Act.
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Diversity issues affect family law

November 10, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While family law cases can be complicated – especially if children are involved and a case has ended up in front of a judge after the parties couldn’t come to an agreement on their own through mediation – the issues only get more complicated when fundamental differences exist between the parties.
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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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  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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