The right to parent your child is a fundamental right, guaranteed by the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But, just like anything else in life, that right is not absolute. For example, parents who abuse their children, whether it be physical or verbal, do not have an absolute right to parent their child anymore. When a child is found to be in a detrimental home environment or found not having their basic needs met, then the State can become involved to protect the child. But there are limits to the State’s ability to intervene, such as when the ...
June 13, 2019CD
Indiana recognizes a parental discipline privilege, which gives a parent legal authority to apply reasonable force upon their child as the parent reasonably believes necessary for proper control, training, or education. While a controversial subject in the legal and psychological areas nationally, Indiana parents have what is known in criminal law as the “parental discipline privilege”. In blunt terms, parents have the legal right to spank their children. However, this is not an absolute right, and Indiana trial and appellate courts have tackled the issue of parental discipline in several cases; they have yet to come up with a clear ...
October 10, 2018CD
Yes. But as of Monday, July 31, 2018 so can certain advocates and attorneys for your children. This comes by a sweeping decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals applying the statutory authority for this power (or standing) created by the Legislature. This blog surveys when and why DCS may seek to sever a parent-child relationship and addresses who else the Legislature empowered to do so by a new application of the law. After the Department of Child Services (DCS) brings a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) case, and the court finds a legal basis for the children being CHINS, ...
August 8, 2018CD
Today, millions of children are being raised by grandparents, friends, neighbors, and sometimes, total strangers. This trend is growing each year. In this situation, these individuals acting as “parents” have no legal rights to the children they are raising, despite the fact they are providing for all aspects of their physical and emotional well-being. Practically speaking, this reality can create a multitude of problems for the caretakers, from enrolling the children in school to obtaining health care. All the while, the children are bonding with this caregiver like a biological parent. However, sometimes a parent just shows up years later ...
June 18, 2018CD
The mere idea of filing for divorce is a difficult concept for most people. We all want a happy marriage, and many people stay in marriages in hopes it will get better, out of fear of the unknown in the post-divorce future, or, commonly, for their children. In other cases, people must stay married for basic reasons, such as insurance coverage if he or she has a chronic condition and would lose coverage and be unable to get care and medicine without their spouse’s insurance. These may be valid reasons to stay married. However, in a few cases, the marriage ...
May 9, 2018CD
Law changes ever so imperceptibly every day. It has to in order to keep up with our society and afford each of us the right to achieve “life, liberty and happiness” through due process of law. The right to due process of law protects the family that is singled out for the most protection in the Constitution —there is a fundamental right of parents to raise their children as they see fit, even if other people or government believes otherwise or disagrees. This blog explores the key daily changes in domestic law and how they balance against the rights of ...
December 27, 2017CD
The point of a civil or criminal trial—overall--is to ensure substantive and procedural due process and protection of fundamental and key constitutional principles. However, no trial court is infallible and most trials do not occur without legal errors being made. This is why some errors may be deemed “harmless” and not afford a new trial or reversal. Stated differently, this means that unless a given error in a ruling or decision significantly impacts constitutional rights, it may be deemed harmless on appeal and the case affirmed by the Court of Appeals (Indiana’s first appellate court) or the Indiana Supreme Court. One ...
February 22, 2017Adam Hayes
The Line Between Abuse, Neglect and Criminal Acts in Indiana One of the strongest constitutional protections is the fundamental right to raise children without the State telling parents how to do it. However, everyone understands that freedoms and rights come with responsibilities and obligations. This is also true for children. Indiana is a conservative legal state, but has drawn lines where those rights end and move into civil or criminal acts on children by parents. This blog explores four key areas where a parent’s decision may go too far. Where this occurs, the State may become involved and take civil or criminal ...
April 14, 2016Adam Hayes
In Indiana, the Department of Child Services (DCS) investigates all allegations of abuse and neglect of Indiana’s children. There is a hotline where any person who suspects abuse or neglect of a child may make a report: 1-800-800-5556. Reports often come from doctors, teachers, and counselors. As a parent of underage children, it is possible you will receive a DCS inquiry about abuse or neglect of your child(ren) in your home. By law, an investigation must occur in a short time and this may leave you unsure whether to have an attorney represent you. There are many aspects an attorney can ...
October 20, 2015Adam Hayes
According the Census Bureau, in 2009, 7.8 million children lived with at least one grandparent, a 64% increase since 1991, when 4.7 million children lived with a grandparent1. While the census only addresses grandparents raising their grandchildren, this is a strong indicator of trends in society wherein more third parties (grandparents, aunts/uncles, friends, etc.) are raising the children of other people. When these situations present themselves, there are many legal issues that need to be addressed. First, as a general rule, there is a strong presumption both in the United States, and in particular in Indiana, that a child’s best interests ...
June 5, 2014CD