All Things Family Law

Discussion of all things related to family law from an Indiana divorce attorney.

This blog provides general family law and divorce law information. If you have a specific issue or case you need assistance with please contact me directly. 

New Indiana Family Laws 2011 - Indiana Adoption, Child Support and Custody Law

The Indiana Judicial Center publishes summaries of new laws, with links to the bills themselves, after each legislative session and after the laws are enacted.  Below I have copied the summaries and links for new Indiana family laws effective July 1, 2011.   While all are important and worth knowing (at least for family law attorneys), the two that would seem to be the most interesting to readers of this blog deal with the right to claim tax exemptions and a parent/guardian’s right to receive information that their child has been involved in a crime:

Notice to parent, guardian or custodian
H.E.A. 1422, P.L. 131-2011
Effective July 1, 2011
Provides that if a child is named in a written report of a crime and the law enforcement agency that receives the report reasonably believes that the child may be a victim of a crime, the law enforcement agency shall make a reasonable attempt to: (1) notify the parent, guardian or custodian of the child about the report; and (2) provide the parent, guardian or custodian with certain contact information. Provides certain exceptions to the notification requirement.

Claiming child as dependent for tax purposes [child support]
H.E.A. 1427, P.L. 210-2011
Effective July 1, 2011
Requires a court to specify in a child support order which parent of a child may claim the child as a dependent for purposes of federal and state taxes. Establishes factors the court must consider in determining which parent may claim the child as a dependent. Requires a court that specifies that the noncustodial parent of a child may claim the child as a dependent to order the custodial parent of the child to take all actions necessary to release the custodial parent’s claim to the exemption in the manner required under federal law. Requires a court to include in a court order that a parent who is ordered to pay child support may only claim the child as a dependent if the parent has paid at least 95% of the parent’s child support for the calendar year for which the parent is ordered to claim the child as a dependent by January 31 of the following year. Provides that a prosecuting attorney or private attorney who contracts or agrees to undertake activities required under Title IV-D is not required to mediate, resolve, or litigate a dispute between the parties relating to the assignment of the right to claim a child as a dependent for federal and state tax purposes.

Interstate compact for juveniles
S.E.A. 34, P.L. 137-2011
Effective July 1, 2011
Adopts the interstate compact for juveniles. Creates a national interstate commission for juveniles made up of the compact administrators from states that join the interstate compact. Delegates to the interstate compact the authority to adopt rules concerning the transfer of juvenile probationers and parolees between states. Adds members to the state council for interstate adult offender supervision. Provides that the state council for interstate adult offender supervision is also the council for interstate juvenile supervision. Requires an offender and juvenile offender to pay a $125 application fee to apply for a transfer out of state. Requires counties to establish a county offender transportation fund.

Department of Child Services
S.E.A. 465, P.L. 162-2011
Effective July 1, 2011
Permits DCS to execute more than one (1) consent to the adoption of a child if it is in the best interests of a child. Provides that a probate court that retains jurisdiction over a guardianship case or another appropriate court shall conduct additional proceedings regarding the guardianship of a minor as requested by the juvenile court that issued an order establishing or modifying the guardianship. Provides that if a juvenile court modifies child custody, child support, parenting time or paternity and thereafter terminates the CHINS or delinquency proceedings, the juvenile court’s order survives the termination of the CHINS or delinquency proceeding until a court having concurrent original jurisdiction assumes or reassumes primary jurisdiction and modifies the child custody, child support, parenting time or paternity order of the juvenile court in accordance with applicable modification statutes. Authorizes DCS to petition a court to order a parent, guardian or custodian to make a child that is the subject of an abuse or neglect investigation available for an interview by a caseworker if the parent, guardian or custodian refuses to allow DCS to interview the child. In a request for child records under IC 31-33-18-1.5, adds a requirement that a juvenile court that finds a child’s death or near fatality was the result of abuse, abandonment or neglect to make written findings and provide a copy of these findings along with the indictment, information or complaint to DCS. Provides that if a juvenile court creates a guardianship in a CHINS case and thereafter closes the CHINS case, the order creating the guardianship survives the closure of the CHINS case and authorizes the probate court to assume or reassume jurisdiction of the guardianship afterwards. Prohibits a juvenile court from approving a placement in a dispositional decree if the child will be placed with a person convicted of certain felony offenses within the past five years or had a juvenile adjudication for an act listed in IC 31-27-4-13(a) that, if committed by a an adult, would be a felony.

Budget bill [child services]
H.E.A. 1001, P.L. 229-2011
Effective July 1, 2011 (§ 255)
Amends IC 31-9-2-17.8, the definition of “child services,” to include kinship guardianship assistance under Title IV-E and other financial assistance provided to or for the benefit of a child who was previously adjudicated as a child in need of services or delinquent child, including a legal guardianship established to implement a permanency plan under IC 31-34-21-7.5(c)(1)(E) if IC 29-3-8-9 applies and the assistance is approved under a rule or published policy of the Department of Child Services.

Prevention programs for at-risk children
H.E.A. 1107, P.L. 183-2011
Effective July 1, 2011
Provides that a juvenile court may create a voluntary preventative program for at-risk children (program). Allows a court to appoint program staff and an early intervention advocate to implement, coordinate, and carry out the purposes of the program. Requires that staff and early intervention advocates who are likely to work with children to undergo a criminal history background check. Provides procedures for program staff and early intervention advocates participating in a program. Provides civil and criminal immunity to a person who: (1) requests that a child participate in a program; (2) provides information concerning a child to program staff or an early intervention advocate; or (3) participates in a plan for an at-risk child in a program. Specifies that, subject to the duty to report suspected child abuse or neglect, no information received under the program by staff or an early intervention advocate may be used against the child in a civil or criminal matter.

Release of adoption information
H.E.A. 1201, P.L. 191-2011
Effective July 1, 2011
Makes various changes to the adoption laws regarding the release of identifying and non-identifying information. Establishes requirements regarding requests for information concerning pre-adoptive siblings and conforms those requirements to laws concerning the release of identifying information. Requires the Department of Child Services, a county office of family and children, a licensed child placing agency, a professional health care provider, an attorney, and a court to send a copy of a written consent, any signed writing that withdraws or modifies a consent to the release of identifying information, and a written non-release form to the State Registrar. Requires the Department of Child Services to provide, at least one time each month, to the State Department of Health a list certain children whose birth parents have had their parental rights terminated. Prohibits the State Registrar, the Department of Child Services, a county office of family and children, a licensed child placing agency, a professional health care provider, an attorney, and a court from releasing identifying information if the request involves an adoptee who is less than 21 years of age and whose name is on the list provided to the State Department of Health from the Department of Child Services. Repeals a provision that allows an individual who submits a request for the release of identifying information to request the State Registrar to search the death certificates for an adoptee or birth parent. Repeals provisions that are being replaced concerning: (1) requests for information concerning adoptees and pre-adoptive siblings; and (2) allowing an attorney, a licensed child placing agency, or a county office of family and children to charge reasonable fees for certain services and actual expenses. Repeals a redundant provision that: (1) allows the State Registrar to adopt rules; and (2) requires the State Registrar to prescribe certain forms.

Parental reimbursement for juvenile services
H.E.A. 1316, P.L. 204-2011
Effective May 10, 2011 (§ 6); July 1, 2011 (§ 1-5)
Establishes the Division of Youth Services Transitional Services Fund (fund) to provide juvenile transitional services to delinquent offenders. Permits a juvenile court to order a parent to pay the clerk of the court to provide funds to reimburse: (1) the Department of Correction (DOC) for the costs incurred by the DOC for a child who is committed to the DOC; and (2) a county for the payment of costs or services for the placement of a child in need of services or a delinquent child. Urges the Legislative Council to assign as study topics during the 2011 legislative interim whether there should be additional oversight of the fund, parental reimbursement, and other legislative recommendations.

Unauthorized adoption facilitation
H.E.A. 1558, P.L. 31-2011
Effective April 15, 2011
Makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a person to knowingly or intentionally provide, engage in, or facilitate adoption services to a birth parent or prospective adoptive parent who lives in Indiana. (Current law makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a person to knowingly or intentionally provide, engage in, or facilitate adoption services to a birth parent or prospective adoptive parent who resides in Indiana.) Provides that the crime of unauthorized adoption facilitation against prospective adoptive parents does not apply to child placing agencies licensed under any state’s law or attorneys licensed to practice law in any state. (Current law provides that the crime of unauthorized adoption facilitation does not apply to child placing agencies licensed under Indiana law or attorneys licensed to practice in Indiana.)

I have not edited the summaries or link as they were published by the Indiana Judicial Center.


The review or transmission of information at this site is not legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.   All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Should you be seeking legal advice, I recommend you retain an attorney. Please contact me  here.