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Text messages properly admitted in custody dispute

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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.”
 

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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