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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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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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