Friday, February 1, 2013

Three 2013 Indiana Child Custody and Support bills get unanimous support in committee - Legislative part 15

The Indiana Senate Committee on the Judiciary heard four child support and well-being related bill on Wednesday 30 January 2013. Three of the bills, SB0006, SB0125 and SB0164 all received unanimous support. Senate Bill 202 was tabled until next week because it was determined that some amendments needed to be made.

SB0006 makes technical change to the child support emancipation age law enacted in 2012. The original bill was amended to allow the door to be reopened by a party denied an educational support order under the dissolution statute. Since the time the law went into effect, 01 July 2012, judges have been denying petitions for educational support orders under the dissolution statute because of the omission in the law that allows for the court to issue an order. The amendment allows petitions to refile and judges to hear the merits of the petition having been previously denied for want of jurisdiction.

There was also a question raised about whether child support claims have priority status against an estate. That matter was to be investigated by LSA attorneys. The bill will be amended prior to being submitted for a floor vote. It is expected to pass the General Assembly with unanimous suport and will go into effect upon being signed by Governor Pence.

SB0125 Establishes the committee on child services oversight to oversee the delivery of child services in Indiana. An amendment was offered that increased the number of stakeholders. Senator Glick requested that a daily provider who relates to the child – such as a foster parent -- have a seat at the table and that it not just be people personally removed from the children making all of the decisions. Glick moved to have a stakeholder representing foster parents added. That was seconded by Lonnie Randolph. Senator Holdman had no objection to adding additional stakeholders.

Senators Glick and Randolph, while not introducing much child well-being related legislation, have both been consistently vigilant in ensuring that tendered legislation is adequately representing children's best interest. Their comments and amendments demonstrate their thorough knowledge of children's interests. HB1042 is the companion bill in the House. HB1123 – commission on children's issues – is also a related bill.

SB0164 allows a prosecuting attorney to request a juvenile court to authorize the filing of a child in need of services [ChiNS] petition. This bill restores authority for local prosecutors to file a CHiNS as was the law prior to 2007. HB1129 is the companion bill in the House. The trigger for this bill was from a GAL in Illinois where anyone can file a ChiNS. The bill is not an attempt to replace DCS in the capacity of filing CHiNS petitions but offers a redundancy when DCS may not have at first seen a need to file a CHiNS.

David Powell, Director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, testified as to circumstances in which a prosecutor may better serve children by filing a CHiNS. He stated that prosecutors when unable to file a CHiNS but faced with a disruptive child who may have mental health issues had to instead file a delinquency petition. Powell does not believe that is in the best interest of the children and should not be the public policy of the State of Indiana to leave these at-risk children with the alternative of being either charged as a delinquent or not having the issue addressed.

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will convene again on Wednesday 06 February to hear additional child well-being related bills.

If you are involved in a child custody proceeding and want to ensure the best outcome then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2008, 2013 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

1 comment:

Mary Sears said...

Thank you for sharing. Certainly one of the most emotionally charged aspects of your divorce concerns your child or children. Tragically, children all too often get caught in the cross-fire of divorcing parents, when what should be ultimately important to everyone concerned is the welfare of the child.

- child custody lawyer Long Island, NY