Justices reverse custody order after choose ‘conflated’ contempt with greatest pursuits
A mother has recovered custody of her child for the time being after the Indiana Supreme Court overturned a court order on Friday finding that a lower court judge wrongly “linked” a finding of mother’s contempt to a best interests analysis Has.
Justice Steven David wrote for the unanimous court Friday in In the Paternity Matter of BY, Andrea Yanes-Mirabal v Pardeep Badasay, 20S-JP-554.
After mother gave birth to Andrea Yanes-Mirabal BY, Pardeep Badasay moved to DNA testing in mid-2018 and tried to establish paternity, custody, parental leave and child support. Yanes-Mirabal was a flight attendant who had to be back in Florida at the end of October 2018. A Marion County judge allowed her to remove BY from the state pending an official hearing in early November.
After the court heard evidence, but before a formal order was issued, Yanes-Mirabal turned down the Marion County venue. The court agreed and ruled that Hamilton County was the correct venue since Badasay’s residence was in the river. The court also ordered BY not to be relocated from Indiana until another hearing, and found that Yanes-Mirabal’s work challenged her residence.
After the case was referred to the Hamilton Circuit Court, Badasay filed an exhibition ground motion alleging his ex had relocated the child from Indiana. He requested a change of custody and a sentence against the child’s mother, which the Hamilton County trial “apparently” granted.
However, a subsequent clarification order states: “It was the intention of the Court to open a hearing and not to provide further immediate relief. Unfortunately, the Court did not examine the proposed order sufficiently to determine that additional relief was immediately ordered. To the extent that relief other than planning a hearing was granted, it is now being lifted. In particular, the court does not order the return of the child, change the custody of the child, or order the payment of legal fees … The scheduled hearing remains fixed. “
After a hearing, the Hamilton Circuit Court found that Yanes-Mirabal was despised for rescheduling BY and Badasay refusing parental leave. The court found that Yanes-Mirabal was breastfeeding and intended to do so until BY was 18 months old, but further found that she had moved to Florida to prevent Badasay from raising the child.
For example, the court gave Badasay sole legal and physical custody, while Yanes-Mirabal was given certain parental leave that deviated from the recommendations of the parental leave guidelines. She was also ordered to pay child support.
The Indiana appeals court upheld this in March, but the Supreme Court reversed on Friday.
Yanes-Mirabal argued to the Supreme Court that she should not be despised and that the court abused its discretion by granting Badasay sole custody. “(W) however, we do not see this case as two separate issues,” wrote Judge Steven David.
“Rather, this case is about the fact that the court apparently linked the mother’s contempt for the court to BY’s interests when it established legal and physical custody,” he wrote. “For this reason, we are overturning the court’s decision that father should have full legal and physical custody and be held in pre-trial detention for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.
“… Although we believe that mother was punished here by losing legal and physical custody of her dependent child, it is rather worrying that her alleged contempt appeared to be the trigger for the court order, the father being the only legal one and grant physical custody. When it comes to the best interests of the child, we cannot accept this result, ”the judiciary continued. “Not only did mother not harm BY, she also breastfed the child. Her return to Florida with BY was born out of the reality that if she didn’t, she would lose her flight attendant job – her means to support the child – if she didn’t. In addition, the court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem did not have an opportunity to participate in this case until the court made its findings. “
In reversing the judicial process, the judges ordered that Yanes-Mirabal be given sole custody while the parents share joint custody, which is consistent with the judgment in force prior to the court’s decision of April 20, 2019. While in pre-trial detention, the court was asked to “disconnect its findings of contempt from the child’s best interests and determine whether a change in custody is justified taking these principles into account”.
“Of course, in this case, no party is without flaws,” wrote David. “But when it comes to the most important aspect of this process – the well-being and well-being of BY – neither party would have been harmed by more targeted proceedings and additional fact-finding.”