from the Lake Superior Court The Honorable John M. Sedia,
Special Judge Trial Court Cause No. 45D01-1505-DR-3
Attorney for Appellant Debra Lynch Dubovich Levy &
Attorneys for Appellee Sandra Moreno-Garcia
Ginger Moell ("Mother") appeals the trial
court's order regarding custody of N.M. and W.M.
(collectively, "Children"). She presents several
arguments for our review, which we restate as:
1. Whether the trial court had authority to modify the
parties' settlement agreements;
2. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it
modified the parties' mediated custody agreement
regarding W.M.; and
3. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it sua
sponte granted N.M. authority over decisions regarding his
exercise of parenting time; health care; and participation in
school, extracurricular, and religious activities.
affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.
and Procedural History
Mother and Stephen Moell ("Father") (collectively,
"Parents") divorced on October 2, 2012. The
dissolution proceedings resulted in three detailed, mediated
settlement agreements regarding the custody and care of N.M.
and W.M., born November 18, 1999, and October 17, 2003,
respectively. Parents used a Parenting Time Coordinator to
assist with co-parenting Children.
In 2013, Father remarried and moved approximately forty-five
minutes away from Mother's residence. Children lived in
Mother's residence the majority of the time. Children
were heavily involved in extracurricular and religious
activities, and many of those activities interfered with
parenting time arrangements. On March 24, 2015, Father filed
a petition to modify parenting time. Father filed an amended
petition to modify parenting time on June 3, 2015.
With the assistance of the Parenting Time Coordinator, the
parties entered into a Partial Agreed Order regarding
Father's petition to modify parenting time, and agreed to
use Dr. Marguerite Rebesco to "conduct counseling and
therapy to help the parties communicate, cooperate and parent
their children." (App. Vol. II at 72.) On February 22,
2017, Mother filed a motion for contempt based on
Father's cancellation of one of Dr. Rebesco's
On March 10, 2017, the trial court held a hearing on
Father's petition to modify parenting time and
Mother's motion for contempt. The trial court interviewed
Children in camera. On March 30, 2017, the trial
court entered an order modifying parenting time:
1. Pursuant to the mediation agreements, entered as orders by
the Court, [Mother] and [Father] maintain joint legal
custody. All other provisions of all three mediation
agreements pertaining to custody and parenting time,
including those pertaining to right of first refusal, are
2. [N.W.] shall exercise parenting time, participation in
school, extracurricular and religious activities as he shall
determine is in his own best interests. [N.W.] shall also
make all final decisions pertaining to his health care.
3. [Father] and [Mother] shall continue to exercise joint
legal custody over [W.M.], with [Mother] making all final
decisions pertaining to education and religious upbringing,
including extracurricular activities associated with each,
and [Father] making all final decisions over health care.
4. All issues pertaining to parenting time shall be governed
by the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, including the
provisions pertaining to Opportunity for Additional Parenting
Time, except that [Father] shall have parenting time with
[W.M.] each week from Thursday at 5:00 p.m. through Sunday at
7:00 a.m. For purposes of calculating summer and holiday
parenting time only, [Mother] shall be designated as the
* * * * *
7. Kim Harmon is discharged of all duties as Parenting Time
Coordinator and Dr. Marguerite Rebesco is discharged of all
duties as counselor with the sincere ...