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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. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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