ILNews

Text messages properly admitted in custody dispute

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that evidence presented during a custody modification hearing laid a sufficient foundation for the admission of text messages between the mother and father.  

Father R.B. appealed the order modifying custody visitation and support of his son B.B. with T.J. The two had joint physical and legal custody of the boy, but after R.B. intended to relocate from Kokomo to Westfield, mother T.J. sought modification based on a substantial change in circumstances. She alleged R.B. lost interest in the boy after he had another child, his use of alcohol impedes his ability to drive and care for their son, and he had cut off communication with her.

At the hearing, mother presented text messages she printed off her phone that were between her and R.B. He challenged the introduction of the text messages, which he claimed played a role in the court’s decision to modify custody. He doesn’t argue the messages weren’t exchanged between the two, but that he believed T.J. deleted certain messages in order to make her the more sympathetic figure. But R.B. never directed the court to any part he believed content was missing, nor did he try to admit evidence of deleted text messages, Judge Elaine Brown wrote in In Re The Paternity of B.B., R.B. v. T.J., 34A02-1303-JP-243.

“To the extent that he suggests that, without the purported omitted text messages, a misleading impression was created, we note that he did testify on the second day of the hearing that he believed certain text messages were not contained in the exhibit, the court heard Father’s testimony, and we cannot say that the court failed to account for such testimony,” she wrote.

“The trial court was able to listen to the testimony and evidence presented and weigh the credibility of the witnesses, including evidence regarding the parents’ communication with one another as well as evidence that Father had been recently convicted for OWI, and that Father filed a CPS report implicating Mother’s boyfriend which was unsubstantiated. The court ruled that Mother was in the best position to act as B.B.’s primary caretaker and awarded her physical custody. After review, we cannot say that the court’s findings or conclusions were clearly erroneous, and we conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in granting Mother’s petition to modify custody.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

ADVERTISEMENT