These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).
APPEAL FROM THE KOSCIUSKO CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable Michael W. Reed, Judge. Cause No. 43C01-1212-GU-68.
WILLIAM MOSHER, APPELLANT, Pro se, North Webster, Indiana.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: DAVID C. KOLBE, Warsaw, Indiana.
CRONE, Judge. BAKER, J., and NAJAM, J., concur.
William Mosher ("Father") appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for guardianship of his incapacitated adult daughter, C.Y.M., for lack of jurisdiction. Because we conclude that the trial court acted within its discretion in finding jurisdiction to be lacking based on C.Y.M.'s Florida residency, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
Haesuk Yi Mosher ("Mother") and Father were married in 1979 in Mother's native country of South Korea. Thereafter, the couple resided in Alabama. Mother and Father had two children, a son and a daughter. The daughter, C.Y.M., was born on September 3, 1984. From birth, C.Y.M. has suffered from a chromosome disorder called Penta X Syndrome. Her IQ is between thirty and forty, and she has the mental development of a three- to five-year-old. As a result, she needs supervision and has lived with one or both of her parents for her entire life. She receives Social Security benefits, which are administered for her benefit by Mother as her representative payee.
In 1993, Father sought a divorce in Madison County, Alabama. It is unclear whether the paperwork was finalized, but Mother and Father continued to reside together and were remarried in 1994 in Tennessee. At some point during 2005 or 2006, they moved to Florida. On May 11, 2011, Father drafted a "Legal Separation Agreement," which Mother signed. The agreement stated that there were no children born to the parties' marriage. In the fall of 2011, Father moved out, leaving Mother with C.Y.M. He filed a complaint for legal separation and then a complaint for dissolution, all in Tennessee. On November 14, 2012, Mother, acting by counsel, filed a petition for conservatorship over C.Y.M. in Tennessee.
Shortly thereafter, Father contacted Mother about his taking C.Y.M. from Florida to Indiana to visit some of Father's relatives. On November 23, 2012, Father signed a notarized document stating that with Mother's permission, he was removing C.Y.M. from Florida for ten days to visit relatives. The document provided that the authorities would be notified if Father failed to return C.Y.M. to Mother in Florida by 4:00 p.m. on December 2, 2012. Appellee's App. at 15. Before he left Florida with C.Y.M., Father filed a report with the local sheriff claiming that Mother had physically abused C.Y.M. The sheriff reported Father's allegations to the Florida Department of Child and Family Services ("FDCFS"). See Id. at 18 (containing Father's allegation that Mother "choked [C.Y.M.], hit her with a towel and spanked her on the legs in the last few months."). A week later, FDCFS closed the case, finding in part that collateral interviews produced no evidence that Mother posed a risk to C.Y.M.
Id. at 19.
After Father left Florida with C.Y.M., he took her to visit his and Mother's son (C.Y.M.'s brother) in Alabama. Shortly thereafter, the son kicked them out, and Father took C.Y.M. to North Webster, Indiana, to visit his daughter (C.Y.M.'s half-sister) and her family. On November 30, 2012, Father sent Mother an email stating that he needed to get new brakes for his vehicle and would return C.Y.M. to her "next weekend" instead of on December 2.
Id. at 17. On the evening of December 2, 2012, when Father had failed to return C.Y.M. as agreed, Mother notified the local sheriff's office, which called Father in Indiana. Father told the sheriff that he did not plan to return C.Y.M. at that time. On December 4, 2012, Mother received a letter from the Social Security Administration indicating that she was being replaced by Father as C.Y.M.'s representative payee. On December 6, 2012, Father filed a petition in Kosciusko County, Indiana, seeking appointment as guardian over C.Y.M. The next day, in furtherance of Father's petition for ...