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Trial court erred in modifying custody in favor of father

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A trial court’s decision to grant a father’s motion to modify custody and prevent his ex-wife from relocating with their son was clearly erroneous, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded in reversing the decision. The lower court ruling virtually ignored the immense benefit the mother’s new position in Tennessee would bring to her and her son.

In D.C. v. J.A.C., No. 32A04-1106-DR-296, mother D.C., who had physical custody of son B.C., filed a notice of intent with the trial court to relocate to Tennessee for a better job. She would have earned about $30,000 more than if she stayed in Indiana, and the job would have been a promotion. Father J.A.C. filed for motion to modify custody and prevent relocation of their son.

The trial court noted the better paying job, but stated that the primary reason the mother was relocating was because of her relationship with her boyfriend. It awarded a change in custody to the father and granted the mother parenting time.

The appellate court found the trial court’s analysis of D.C.’s reason for relocating somewhat perplexing, wrote Judge John Baker, noting the judge focused mostly on her move as being motivated by her relationship with her boyfriend. In addition, she has been the primary caregiver. The judges remanded with instructions that the trial court be mindful of the relocation when establishing father’s parenting time.

They denied J.A.C.’s request for appellate attorney fees.

 

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  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.

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