The United States Supreme Court has long recognized the “fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.”1 This fundamental right to parent is why the Indiana Courts place the burden of proof on the Department of Child Services (“DCS”) when it comes to proving that a child is a child in need of services (“CHINS”). Specifically, our Indiana Supreme Court has found that DCS must prove three basic elements for a CHINS finding.2 Those elements are: (1) that the parent’s actions or inactions have seriously endangered the child; (2) that the child’s ...
Tag: Troxel v. Granville
April 1, 2019CD
The family dynamic is something that is always changing, and there is certainly no “standard” or “normal” family. Many may picture a mom, a dad, and a couple of children when thinking of what was called a “nuclear family.” However, the truth is, families, often, do not resemble a nuclear family. Families may consist of same-sex couples, single parents, step-parents, half-siblings, adopted children, aunts, uncles, third-party custodians, or a myriad of other possibilities. On this note, it has become increasingly common for grandparents to play an active role in raising a child while the child’s parents are at work or ...
March 28, 2019CD
Grandparents are an important part of many of their grandkids’ lives. Grandparents tend to help watch us growing up and provide many of us with invaluable life lessons they taught their own children. In many respects in today’s busy world, grandparents often times almost act as second parents. The Indiana Legislature, for this very reason, passed statutes providing grandparents with the legal right to go to court to seek visitation1. However, the situations are limited in which grandparents are entitled to seek visitation, but, due to their impactful nature on a child, grandparents are given certain legal remedies in court; ...
February 18, 2019CD
What is Third-Party Custody and How You Can Obtain Custody of Children You Are Raising?1 A commonly shared belief in our society is that children are often best off in the care and custody of their biological parents. The Supreme Court has stated that one of the oldest fundamental rights in the United States is a parent’s right to the “care, custody, and control of their children.”2 While this right is fundamental, like most everything in life, it is not absolute. The reality today is millions of children are being raised by grandparents, friends, neighbors, and strangers. This creates situations in ...
December 4, 2018CD
All parents have the fundamental right to the care, custody, and control of their child(ren).1 Basically, this means parents can raise their children in their own way--even if most people disagree with their style. While this is a fundamental constitutional right, it is not absolute. When a parent presents a risk or danger to a child’s physical or emotional wellbeing, DCS may file a Children in Need of Services (CHINS) case and the Court opens a CHINS case. The CHINS process is designed to allow an investigation into suspected abuse and neglect and provide the parents (and children) with services ...
October 4, 2018CD
Today, more than ever, children are being raised by third parties, including step-parents. When the non-custodial, biological parent does not stay involved in his/her child’s life, this often leads the step-parent (and child) to want to adopt. If the other biological parent is deceased or consents to the adoption, there is no legal barrier to prevent the adoption (assuming the other statutory requirements for adoption are met, such as having a home study). This blog address when a (living) biological parent’s consent is not required for the adoption filing, the biological parents right to contest his or her lack of ...
August 15, 2018CD
In divorce and paternity cases, the term “custody” has a number of different meanings. If you are contemplating divorce or in the process, understanding this term is key. If you are divorced or paternity is established, you might think you understand the “custody” terms you agreed to in reaching an agreement or as ordered by the court; but if you and the other parent don’t have a meeting of the minds on the meaning of custody connected with your “custody” order, it will cause conflict or potential litigation. This blog explores four terms and meanings connected to “custody”: 1). physical ...
June 20, 2017CD
A topic or term known to perhaps every divorced (or unwed) father in the United States is “fathers’ rights”. Gather a group of fathers together and perhaps there would be no agreement on the precise definition and how this term would, could, or should play out in the divorce or paternity. However, they would agree, on the whole, they believe they are getting “screwed” by the system. Such term, in fact, conjures up discussions ranging from the child support formula (unreasonable amounts it computes for non-custodial fathers) and denial of parenting time to tactical use of protective orders. This is not ...
April 12, 2017CD