Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amending Indiana's Parenting Time Guidelines, Paternity Affidavit and more

I attended the Indiana General Assembly's Child Custody and Support Advisory Committee [CCSAC] meeting today and then went to the Domestic Relations Committee [DRC] meeting, already in progress, at the Indiana Judicial Center.

At the CCSAC meeting I met Mr and Mrs Meadows of Bedford, Indiana who spoke in favour of a great-grandparent visitation statute. They have been estranged from their two great-granddaughters because of the husband of their granddaughter. There is currently a legislative proposal to allow for great-grandparents to seek visitation orders similar to that of grandparents. There was discussion about the language in the proposal as to meaningful relationship and other factors used to determine who may petition the court for a visitation order. Audience member Daniel Beatty reminded the Committee of the requirements set forth by the USSC in Troxel v Granville. The Committee determined that the proposal could not apply to all great-grandparents but would have to include only those that had an existing relationship with the children.

Mr. Chris Worden, a family law attorney in Indianapolis, made an excellent presentation to the Committee about the problems with Indiana's paternity affidavit. The discussion following his presentation touched upon all areas that I had intended to speak about so I did not provide any testimony at this meeting.

I will be meeting with one of the Senators before the next meeting to work on some legislation involving paternity and contempt of court in child support cases.

Next I proceeded to the Indiana Government Center to search for some records before heading to the DRC meeting. The DRC was working on application of the Child Support Amendments to the Child Support Calculator. A presentation to judges is planned for a seminar on 19 November followed by a public meeting. Mr. Jeff Bercovitz, Director, Juvenile and Family Law, Indiana Judicial Center said that the DRC next plans to start working on modifying Indiana's Parenting Time Guidelines. I do plan to provide input to the committee throughout the entire process of amending the Guidelines.

The DRC will provide opportunities for public input through the taking of personal testimony as well as submission of written material. The Committee does take input from some professionals and advocates during some of the regularly scheduled meetings.

I also spoke with Ms. Cynthia Longest, Deputy Director of the Child Support Bureau, Department of Child Services about child support enforcement. Ms Longest regularly attends the CCSAC and DRC meetings. I hope to receive input from her about child support enforcement proposals that I intend to have introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

Anyone who would like to participate in amending the Guidelines or participating in lobbying for more child-friendly laws in Indiana please contact me. If you would like to receive notice of all meetings please go to our homepage and enter your e-mail address and zip code.


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1 comment:

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