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Uncle has no statutory right to post-adoption visitation

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An uncle’s post-adoption visitation rights were overturned on the grounds that he was not within any statutory category of individuals entitled to visitation rights.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s order granting post-adoption visitation to the J.H., the biological uncle of the minor child, P.H. in In Re the adoption of: P.A.H., f/k/a P.V., Minor Child, B.D. and L.H.C., v. J.H., 79A02-1302-AD-183.

After the parental rights of P.H.’s biological parents were terminated, the adoptive parents, B.D. and L.H.C. as well as J.H. filed separate petitions to adopt. The trial court granted adoption of P.H. to B.D. and L.H.C. and visitation rights to J.H.

The adoptive parents appealed.

Pointing to the Indiana Supreme Court’s previously expressed opinion that the custodial and parental relationship right to visitation should extend only to stepparents, the Court of Appeals found J.H. had no statutory standing to be allowed to see his niece.

The appeals court concluded since the trial court lacked authority to grant post-adoption visitation rights to J.H., the portion of its order granting such visitation is void ad initio.
 

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