Sunday, May 4, 2008

Indiana Grandparent Visitaton/Custody Case Going to Indiana Supreme Court

Being a Not For Publication case, I left Matter of the Paternity of K.I., by grandmother and next friend, Juanita Ivers v. Jeremy Hensley (PDF format) unread until I saw the Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer.

The parties agreed to Grandmother having custody of the child but after five years Father petitioned for a modification of custody. The Court of Appeals held the trial court had not followed In re Paternity of Z.T.H., 839 N.E.2d 246 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005) and remanded the issue back to the trial court.

Father appealed over the court granting grandparent visitation. The Court of Appeals was more ambiguous on this point by leaving to the trial to determine if Grandmother should have visitation as grandmother or as a de facto custodian. If the Grandmother wins at the trial court on the custody issue, then I would call the visitation issue moot.

The custody issue has greater importance than the visitation issue. In re Paternity of Z.T.H. was not appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court. With this case, our Supreme Court has the chance to define the rules for modification of third party custody cases. I will be very surprised if they do not accept the reasoning behind In re Paternity of Z.T.H..

Update: I have a post on the oral arguments in this case in Third Party Custody: In re Paternity of K.I.: J.I. v. J.H..

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