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Mother’s argument crushed by precedent

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld precedent in finding a mother who made sporadic child support payments over several years did fail to provide assistance for one entire year as outlined in state statute.

The mother of M.S. appealed the trial court’s order granting the young girl’s stepmother power to adopt her. In part, the mother argued the trial court erred when it aggregated her missed child support payments so that the total amount was the equivalent of 52 weeks. She asserted under I.C. 31-19-9-8, the term “year” means a calendar year rather than a year’s worth of arrearages.

Rejecting the mother’s argument, the Court of Appeals affirmed in the trial court’s ruling in In the Matter of the Adoption of M.S.; C.L.S. v. A.L.S., 20A03-1306-AD-217.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court of Appeals cited two other cases that addressed the same issue. The Court of Appeals first pointed to its own decision in In re Adoption of J.T.A., 988 N.E. 2d 1250, 1255 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013) which held any year in which a parent fails to pay child support meets the requirements in the state statute. Next, the COA cited the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling in In re Adoption of Infants Reynard, 215 N.E.2d 413, 416 (Ind. 1969) which concluded strictly interpreting the statute as to mean one calendar year would make the law ineffective and inoperable.

“Likewise, we find that construing INDIANA CODE 31-19-9-8 here to hold that there must be a complete refusal or failure to pay any sum of money for one year before the filing of a petition could lead to absurd consequences,” Judge Rudolph Pyle wrote for the court. “Therefore, we instead follow the Supreme Court’s more operable interpretation.”



 

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  4. Oh, and you fail to mention that you deprived the father of far FAR more time than he ever did you, even requiring officers to escort the children back into his care. Please, can you see that you had a huge part in "starting the war?" Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

  5. Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

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