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Parallel parenting provision divides COA

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In reversing a trial court’s modification of the custody agreement even though neither parent requested a change in custody, the Indiana Court of Appeals split over how much discretion a Parallel Parenting Time Order grants a court.

The Fulton Circuit Court gave joint physical and legal custody to Shelly Bailey and her ex-husband Lance Bailey after the pair had traded contempt petitions and Shelly Bailey petitioned to restrict Lance Bailey’s visitation.

On appeal, Shelly Bailey charged the trial court should not have modified physical custody because neither party made such a request.

The Court of Appeals agreed, finding although Shelly Bailey agreed that the trial court could enter a Parallel Parenting Time Order, that was not a concession that the lower court could modify the children’s physical custody. Neither parent filed a petition requesting a change in custody and neither party presented any arguments for changing custody arrangements.

“Most importantly for purposes of this case, nothing in the new Parallel Parenting provision demonstrates any intent that it should affect the amount of parenting time awarded, except for possible elimination of mid week parenting time, makeup parenting time, and opportunities for additional parenting time that appear elsewhere in the Parenting Time Guidelines,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the majority in Shelly Bailey v. Lance Bailey, 25A04-1309-DR-452.

In his dissent, Judge John Baker asserted the Parallel Parenting provision would affect the amount of parenting time by reducing the father’s visitation. He also pointed to the instructions accompanying the Parallel Parenting Time Orders that the best interests of the children are paramount and the court recognize one parent could create a high-conflict situation.
 
Baker contended the trial court was trying to satisfy the best interests of the children as well as prevent further destructive behavior.
 
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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