Family Law

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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Mother's prior statement undermines argument on appeal

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
A mother who appealed a court’s order acknowledging that her ex-husband is the father of her child cannot prove that the court abused its discretion.
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Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over child support

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In addressing whether a trial court in Indiana erred in dismissing a woman’s petition for modification of child support previously entered in Maryland, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted an incongruity in the statutory scheme that leads to the “somewhat absurd result in this case.”
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Comment sought on proposed changes to parenting time guidelines

February 8, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Judicial Center’s Domestic Relations Committee is seeking comment on proposed changes to the parenting time guidelines, which includes parenting coordination guidelines.
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Collaborative divorce offers closure for clients, demands less attorney time

January 18, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
Attorneys say collaborative divorce works for clients who hope to avoid the courtroom.
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Bill would change child support statute

January 18, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
Senate Bill 18 could reduce arrearages.
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DCS recognized with national award

January 11, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Department of Child Services has won one of four Casey Family Programs “Excellence in Leadership” awards for 2011. The award is given to those involved in child welfare who work to improve the lives of children and families.
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Judges examine double jeopardy issues in child support case

January 6, 2012
Michael Hoskins

The Indiana Court of Appeals has found a man’s three convictions on non-payment of child support for his three children don't violate double jeopardy principles, even though that issue is currently pending in another case before the Indiana Supreme Court.

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Supreme Court gives $160,000 for family court projects

December 28, 2011
IL Staff
Sixteen Indiana counties will share $160,000 in grant money from the Indiana Supreme Court to support their local family court projects.
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Notre Dame to organize workshop on families and the law

December 21, 2011
IL Staff
The University of Notre Dame has been chosen as the U.S. partner in a British initiative that involves an international network considering the intersection of families and the state from interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives.
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Appellate court finds mother wasn't in contempt

November 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a mother that the Clark Circuit Court erred in finding her in contempt for not putting her teenage daughter on a plane to Florida to visit the teen’s father over Christmas break. The appellate court did agree with the trial court that the mom should have to pay for another flight to visit the father.
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Appellate court tackles child support issues

October 12, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In three opinions released Wednesday, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on child support issues – the application of Social Security benefits to an arrearage and whether two fathers who were incarcerated for not paying child support could have their support obligations modified.
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Guidance offered on incarcerated parents' attendance at termination hearings

October 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Scolding the Indiana Department of Child Services for how it handled a parental termination case, the Indiana Supreme Court has found an incarcerated mother’s due process rights were not violated when she did not receive adequate notice about pending proceedings that would affect her rights as a parent or when she was not allowed to attend the hearings.
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Foster families get in free to Marengo Cave

October 6, 2011
IL Staff
Thanks to a partnership between Marengo Cave and the Indiana Department of Child Services, foster parents and their foster, biological and stepchildren will be able to get in to Marengo Cave’s guided walking tours for free.
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Indiana makes gains in permanent placement

September 14, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The state sees improvement, but aims to do better.
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Justices take 3 cases

September 6, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to three cases, including one that led to a split in the lower appellate court in a child support case.
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Grandmother can't petition for visitation

September 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A grandmother has lost her right to petition for visitation rights after her son’s parental rights were terminated, so the trial court was correct in dismissing her petition, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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