J.R. and C.R., Appellants,
S.P. and D.P., Appellees.
from the Harrison Circuit Court The Honorable John T. Evans,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 31C01-1703-DC-48
Attorney for Appellant Brittany M. Wilson Wilson &
Semones Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Attorneys for Appellee J. David Agnew Claire Lorch Hagedorn
Lorch Naville Ward LLC New Albany, Indiana.
of the Case
C.R. ("Biological Mother") and her husband, J.R.,
("her husband") appeal the trial court's grant
of S.P. ("Father") and D.P.'s
("Mother") (collectively "Parents")
motion to dismiss a custody action in which Biological Mother
and her husband sought to obtain custody of A.P.
("A.P.") thirteen years after Biological Mother had
voluntarily relinquished her parental rights to A.P. and had
consented to A.P.'s adoption. Concluding that the trial
court did not err in granting the Parents' motion to
dismiss, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
sole issue for our review is whether the trial court erred in
granting the Parents' motion to dismiss.
A.P. was born in December 2003. The day after A.P.'s
birth, Biological Mother signed a Consent to Adoption wherein
she consented to A.P.'s adoption, waived notice of all
proceedings connected to the adoption, and voluntarily
relinquished "all maternal rights, including the care,
custody and control with regard to said child." (App.
17). Four days later, Mother and Father filed a petition to
adopt A.P. The adoption was finalized in March 2004. Parents
and Biological Mother did not enter into any agreement
regarding post-adoption contact between Biological Mother and
Thirteen years later, in February 2017, Biological Mother and
her husband filed a petition seeking custody of A.P. The
petition alleged that they were seeking custody of A.P.
pursuant to Indiana Code § 31-17-2-3, which provides
that a "child custody proceeding is commenced in the
court by . . . a person other than a parent by filing a
petition seeking a determination of custody of the
child." The petition further alleged that Biological
Mother and her husband had been in contact with A.P. and had
learned that there were conflicts between A.P. and Parents.
Biological Mother and her husband also believed that Parents
were planning to relocate with A.P. Biological Mother and her
husband alleged that, based upon the conflicts and possible
relocation, a change in custody was in A.P.'s best
In March 2017, Parents filed a motion to dismiss Biological
Mother and her husband's custody petition pursuant to
Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(6) for failure to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted. Parents specifically alleged
that Biological Mother had consented to the adoption and had
voluntarily relinquished her parental rights in 2003.
Further, Parents pointed out that the parties had not entered
into a post-adoption visitation agreement either before or
after finalizing the adoption.
The trial court granted the Parents' motion to dismiss
after a hearing. Specifically, the trial court's ...