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COA: Trail Court Erred in Granting Father’s Motion to Transfer Adoption Proceedings

Family Law Case Review:

Written by Michael R. Kohlhaas,Cross Glazier Reed Burroughs, PC

HELD: Trial court erroneously granted Father’s motion to transfer adoption proceedings, from Marion County to Johnson County—where Mother and Child lived—because Indiana’s adoption statute establishes preferred venue in, among other locations, a county in which the petitioner’s counsel maintains an office, and petitioner’s counsel maintained an office in Marion County. FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Mother and Stepfather filed a petition for Stepfather’s adoption of Child. The petition was filed in Marion County, where their attorney maintained an office. Father filed an objection to the adoption, and moved for transfer of the case to Johnson County, where Mother and Child lived. The trial court granted the Father’s requested transfer to Johnson County. Mother and Stepfather appealed. The Court of Appeals reviewed Trial Rule 75, which governs venue generally, and preferred venue in particular. Important to this appeal, Trial Rule 75(A)(8) provides that preferred venue includes the county where a matter may be filed pursuant to “any statute recognizing or creating a special or general remedy or proceeding.” Adoption proceedings are governed by Ind. Code 31-19-2-2, which statutorily provides for the filing of an adoption in the county in which: (1) the petitioner for adoption resides; (2) the licensed child placing agency or governmental agency having custody of the child is located; (3) the petitioner’s attorney maintains an office; or (4) the child resides. Concluding that Ind. Code 31-19-2-2 is a special venue statute pursuant to Trial Rule 75(A)(8), and that Mother and Stepfather complied with it by filing their petition in a county in which their attorney maintained an office, “change of venue may not be granted.” The trial court’s order granting Father’s petition to transfer venue was reversed. __________________________

James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Cross Glazier Reed Burroughs, PC, is the premiere boutique family law firm in the state of Indiana. Visit the firm’s website at


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