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Participation in travel soccer league supports modifying custody

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a mother’s request to modify a custody order entered in 2007 when her children were in grade school, finding their participation in travel soccer leagues and the distance between the parents’ homes warrants a change.

The court also noted how the guardian ad litem on the case believed if the custody arrangement wasn’t modified, it would “irreparably harm” the father’s relationship with his two children.

The arrangement in place between mother L.C. and father T.M. had the children spending Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate weekends with their father in Mooresville. The mother lived in Carmel, where the now teens are enrolled in school and play in travel soccer leagues. Also as part of the custody order, mother is to enroll the children in spring sports and father to enroll them in fall sports.

L.C. signed her son up for travel soccer in the spring of 2012; her daughter was already playing on Carmel’s travel team. She sought to modify the physical custody arrangement to better accommodate the children’s schedules, travel distance and difficulties the kids had when staying with their father. They felt they were treated worse than their step-siblings.  

The trial court ruled the mother’s enrollment of her son in the travel league that lasted an entire year violated the custody arrangement that mother enroll the children in spring sports and father enroll them in fall sports. It also held she didn’t prove a substantial change had occurred to warrant modification.

“In our view, the trial court’s determination that the parties should remain bound to their shared physical custody arrangement, despite the intervening changes that affect the children’s welfare and best interest, cannot stand,” Judge John Baker wrote in In Re: the Marriage of L.C. v. T.M., 32A01-1303-DR-91. The judges remanded for an order to be entered based on the evidence presented that modifies the custody arrangement in accordance with the children’s best interests.

The appellate court also noted it was mindful of the recent Indiana Supreme Court decision in D.C. v. J.A.C., 977 N.E.2d 951, 956 (Ind. 2012), that admonishes against appellate reversal of custody orders and reminds that great deference should be afforded to trial courts in custody matters. But, Baker wrote, the court doesn’t believe that the rationale in the opinion stands for the idea that an appellate court is unable to reverse decisions that do not serve the best interests of the children and promote stability.
 

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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