Indiana Court of Appeals Orders Physical Custody of Child Back to Father

In its recent decision, in a divorce case out of Clark Circuit Court, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision to modify custody to Mother.

In the divorce, Father was granted sole legal custody of the minor child. Father later filed a restraining order on Mother because her live-in boyfriend had two previous battery convictions. Father claimed that Mother’s boyfriend had physically abused the minor child. Mother later filed for a modification of custody of the child which was granted by the Clark Circuit Court. Father was granted distance-related parenting time with the minor child.

The Indiana Court of Appeals noted that the trial court failed to state in its order which circumstance had substantially changed under Indiana Code 31-17-2-8 in order to warrant the custody modification and that there was not enough evidence to warrant the change of custody. Thus, they reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded custody back to Father.

Court of Appeals of Indiana Affirms Trial Court’s Decision to Modify Custody of Child from Mother to Father After Mother Repeatedly Refused to Inform Father of Major Decisions Regarding Child’s Education and Medical Treatment

In a recent Court of Appeals case from August 30, 2016, In Re the Paternity of: L.S., the Court of Appeals of Indiana upheld the trial court’s decision to modify custody of the minor child from Mother to Father.

Mother was awarded sole legal custody and primary physical custody of the child during the paternity. Mother repeatedly made decisions about the child’s educational upbringing and medical treatment without first informing the Father, which the trial court looked negatively upon.

At the trial, the Custody Evaluator testified that one parent should have custody, but did not recommend one parent over the other. The Parenting Time Coordinator testified that the parents could not communicate and that Father was more likely to include Mother in the major decisions about medical, education and extra-curricular activities.

The trial court awarded Father sole legal custody of the child, with both parties sharing equal parenting time. Mother appealed. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision.

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