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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 9 NFP)

For publication opinions today (1):

In In the Matter of the Adoption of J.M.: J.P. and J.M. v. R.H. and R.H. , a 12-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:

In this case, appellants-natural parents Mother and Father (collectively, “the Natural Parents”) had a relationship that was plagued by substance abuse and domestic violence when JM was born in December 2009. The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) removed JM from the Natural Parents when she was only a few months old.

JM was placed in foster care. Eventually, the DCS filed a petition to terminate parental rights. While that petition was pending, JM’s foster parents (Foster Parents) filed a petition to adopt her. Several months later, JM’s paternal grandparents (Grandparents), filed a competing petition to adopt JM, and the Natural Parents consented to Grandparents adopting JM.

The trial court determined that in light of the competing adoption petitions, a consent hearing was necessary. Following a hearing, the trial court determined that the Natural Parents were unfit and that their consent was unnecessary. After a change of judge, an adoption proceeding was held, and the trial court granted the Foster Parents’ petition to adopt JM, emphasizing that because of a post-adoption agreement, the Grandparents would remain a part of JM’s life.

The Natural Parents appeal the trial court’s determination that their consent was unnecessary and that it was in JM’s best interest to dispense with their consent. Concluding that the trial court did not err by dispensing with the Natural Parents’ consent and refusing to hear additional evidence on the issue during the adoption proceeding, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. * * *

[W]e observe that in many adoption cases, the result is not only the termination of parental rights, but also the severance from a family tree; however, that did not happen in the instant case. Indeed, because of the post-adoption agreements, the Grandparents will continue to be JM’s grandparents. Appellants’ App. p. 96. JM will not be severed from her family tree of birth, but rather, will enjoy the love and nurturing that grandparents give so freely. We encourage these agreements, where appropriate, for the benefit of children.

NFP civil opinions today (4):

Tamara Critser v. Chad L. Critser, Jr. (NFP)

In Re: Nancy J. McMillen Testamentary Trust, Donna M. McMillen v. Thomas Kane (NFP)

In re the Paternity of J.W.: A.P. (Mother) v. A.W. (Father) (NFP)

Pritika Patel, Kala Patel v. Bhupen Ray, Amy Ray, Indiana Hospitality Real Estate & Management, LLC (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (5):

Mark Blackburn v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Robert Beeler v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Clifton Brooks v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Courtney Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Zackery Reahard v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 20, 2014 10:37 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions