Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Indiana Court of Appeals decision - moving out of Indiana and custody case

Another case applying the old relocation statute - which shows the gap in time between a trial court's decision and an appellate court decision. IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF BROWELL (PDF format; Indiana Court of Appeals, October 26, 2007).

Some interesting points:

  1. For the non-lawyers reading this blog should pay attention to pages 7-8. The Indiana Court of Appeals reproduces the record where the trial court applies the law to the facts. Essentially, here is an example of judging.
  2. This case matters for out of state moves but we will need to overlay the new relocation statute on it.
  3. I think the Court of Appeals does a very good job of explaining when a move out of state justifies a change of custody. Page 9- 11. I do want to emphasize the following passage from page 9:
Mother is correct that an out of state move “is not per se a substantial change of circumstances.” Lamb v. Wenning, 600 N.E.2d 96, 98 (Ind. 1992), superceded by statute on other grounds (citing Poret v. Martin, 434 N.E.2d 885, 890 (Ind. 1982)); In re B.D.D., 779 N.E.2d 9, 14 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002). However, we disagree with her contention that “it is obvious that the change in custody was premised solely upon the Mother’s relocation to Nashville, Tennessee.” Appellant’s Br. p. 12. While the trial court observed that “the single factor causing this litigation is the Mother’s move to Nashville,” the court expressly recognized “that a custodial parent’s relocation alone will not support a modification of custody.” Appellant’s App. p. 15. Instead, “it is the effect of the move upon the child that renders a relocation substantial or inconsequential—i.e. against or inline [sic] with the child’s best interest.” Id.; Lamb, 600 N.E.2d at 99.

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