from the Madison Circuit Court The Honorable Thomas Newman,
Jr., Judge The Honorable Christopher A. Cage, Master
Commissioner Trial Court Cause No. 48C03-1512-GU-593
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Dorothy Ferguson Anderson, Indiana
Erica Manis (Mother) appeals the trial court's denial of
her petition to terminate Trista McNabb's (Guardian)
guardianship of her child, J.F. (Child), and its denial of
her request for parenting time. She argues that the trial
court erred by denying her petition to terminate the
guardianship because the evidence showed that she was able to
care for Child and that the trial court erred by concluding
that it lacked authority to order parenting time for Mother.
Finding that the trial court did not err by denying
Mother's petition to terminate the guardianship, but that
the trial court erred by refusing to consider Mother's
request for parenting time, we affirm in part, reverse in
part, and remand for further proceedings.
Child was born in 2012. On December 14, 2015, Guardian filed
a petition for appointment of a guardian for
Child. A hearing took place on January 5, 2016,
and the following day, the trial court appointed Guardian as
Child's temporary guardian. On February 3, 2016, Mother
filed a motion to terminate the temporary guardianship and a
motion requesting parenting time. On February 26, 2016,
Guardian filed a motion to extend the temporary guardianship.
On March 10, 2016, the trial court ordered the temporary
Hearings took place on June 7 and 24, 2016, and July 21,
2016. On July 25, 2016, Mother was charged with unlawful
possession or use of a legend drug, possession of a
controlled substance, and possession of paraphernalia. On
August 17, 2016, the trial court appointed Guardian as
Child's permanent guardian. The trial court did not order
parenting time for Mother, instead "leaving that issue
to the discretion of the Guardian to act in the best
interests of the minor child in maintaining meaningful
contact with all family." Appellant's App. Vol. II
On March 6, 2017, Mother pleaded guilty to unlawful
possession or use of a legend drug, and the other charges
were dismissed. Mother was placed on probation and ordered to
participate in random drug screens and treatment at a
substance abuse rehabilitation center. On May 3, 2017, Mother
filed a petition to terminate the guardianship, arguing that
her condition had improved such that she could care and
provide for Child, or in the alternative, requesting
parenting time with Child. On May 11, 2017, the trial court
denied Mother's request for parenting time, stating that
no statutory or other authority existed under which the trial
court could order parenting time during the guardianship
On May 10 and July 26, 2017, Guardian filed motions to
dismiss Mother's petition to terminate guardianship. The
trial court denied both of Guardian's motions. On August
18, 2017, Guardian filed a motion to establish child support.
A hearing on Mother's petition to terminate guardianship
and Guardian's motion to establish child support took
place on October 12, 2017. On December 20, 2017, the trial
court denied Mother's petition and granted
Guardian's, making the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law:
6. That after this Court imposed its original guardianship
order, the Mother went inpatient at several facilities . . .
. During her stay at [one facility] mother was alleged to
have made threats of harm about the guardian. As such, the
guardian, Trista McNabb obtained a protected order against
8. Mother continues to reside with her grandparents who
furnish her with everything she needs financially.
9. Mother testified that she hasn't worked in nearly two
years but did recently try to work at Pizza King but quit
that employment after only one-half day.
10. Mother has been in multiple car [collisions] in recent
years, the most recent of which involved another car that was
provided by her grandmother when she rear-ended another
driver on August 31, 2017. In the two years prior, she had
totaled two other cars through her own fault.
11. Mother currently is unemployed due to a broken leg which
she received in a recent car accident, but has a pending
application for Social Security benefits.
12. Jeannie Manis, grandmother of Mother, admitted that
Mother had used her credit card without authorization. She
admitted she had made Mother leave the house in fall of 2016
because she was being "disrespectful". When
furnished with copies of electronic communications that
Guardian argued was evidence of Mother was still engaging
[sic] in drug seeking behavior, grandmother acknowledged that
this was also another reason that Mother had been asked to
13. Witness Lexi Manis recalled a similar incident where
Mother had been asked to leave her grandmother's home
again in summer of 2017, which lasted for only a short time.
18. Mother continues to maintain that she does not have a
drug problem and maintains that she has not abused drugs in
over two years. She claimed she had not "actively
used" since before [Child] was born.
19. Mother testified that she attends treatment [at the
substance abuse rehabilitation center through] individual
counseling and a psychiatrist. Mother testified that she also
attends Narcotics Anonymous and a local church.
20. There was evidence presented that as a result of
mother's treatment . . . she has seen a psychiatrist that
has adjusted her medication. Mother's medication was
adjusted in the summer of 2017. Such an adjustment has had a
positive impact on mother.
21. Mother provided mental health records showing five visits
she had . . . between August 4, 2016, and April 11, 2017.
These records are inconclusive to show progress is being
made, as they fail to show regular appointments. The records
indicate that ...