Legal Question in Family Law in Indiana

What Happens to the Children?

My brother-in-law had a son (14) out of wedlock. He has been paying support and trying to get his son to come and stay on the weekends. The boys mother is on welfare, doesn't keep a job to save her life, did not supervise the boy, and just got sentenced Feb. 1, 2000, drug trafficking. My brother-in-law was told by another attorney that his son would be allowed to make the decision on where he wants to live. My brother-in-law lives a half an hour away. The mother's family seems to think that they automatically get custody. The courts did not notify my brother-in-law that his son's mother was put in jail that day. No one contacted him. The mother also has a younger daughter by another man. The children were not even discussed at the hearing. Does my brother-in-law have the legal right to gain custody of his son over the mother's mother (which has pretty much raised him anyway)? My brother-in-law contacted the welfare department last year sometime because he was seeking custody of his son and they told him that he should stay with his mother. They lived in a tiny apartment in a building that just got torn down. It was filthy.

Asked on 2/08/00, 6:56 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Curtis J. Hamilton Neel Wilson & Clem
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Re: What Happens to the Children?

Your brother-in-law should IMMEDIATELY contact the social services department in the county where the children reside. A dependency/neglect charge against the mother was probly already filed, and the department was, most likely, given control over the child and will make the decision as to who will have temporary custody over the child.

If no action has yet been taken by social services, he can file a dependency claim in the juvenile court in his county, and he can request emergency temporary custody of the child since mother is incarcerated. If he has a good relationship with the child and has exercised visitation regularly, or has in some other way demonstrated to the Court that he and and his have a good father-son relationship, he should be awarded custody.

Wish him good luck, and advise him that he needs to get the process in gear right away.

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2/09/00, 7:09 pm

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