Micayla N. Smith, Appellant-Petitioner,
Nathan W. McPheron, Appellee-Respondent.
from the Madison Circuit Court The Honorable Angela Warner
Sims, Judge The Honorable Kevin M. Eads, Magistrate Trial
Court Cause No. 48C01-1603-DR-205
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Cody Cogswell Cogswell &
Associates Fishers, Indiana.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE David P. Murphy David P. Murphy &
Associates, P.C. Greenfield, Indiana.
of the Case
Micayla N. Smith ("Mother") appeals the trial
court's modification of physical custody over her minor
child, G.M. ("Child"), from Mother to Nathan
McPheron ("Father"). Mother raises five issues for
our review,  which we restate as the following four
1. Whether the trial court's modification order is
2. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it
declined to hold Father in contempt for his child-support
3. Whether trial court abused its discretion when it declined
to award Mother attorney's fees based on Father's
4. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it
denied Mother's request to proceed in forma
pauperis on appeal.
We affirm the trial court's judgment on the first three
issues but reverse the trial court's denial of
Mother's motion to proceed in forma pauperis.
and Procedural History
In March of 2016, Mother filed a petition for the dissolution
of her marriage to Father. Child was the only child of the
marriage and was just shy of three years old at the time
Mother filed the petition for dissolution. In June, the trial
court entered its decree of dissolution. In the decree, the
court awarded primary physical custody over Child to Mother
and ordered Father to pay $85 per week in child support.
In May of 2016, Mother lived in a third-floor apartment with
her boyfriend, Brandon George, and George's minor child
in Anderson. On May 22, neighbors called police to report that
Child had been left unattended on the apartment's
balcony. Officers arrived and, later, case managers with the
Indiana Department of Child Services investigated. Mother
admitted to family case manager William Griffin that she had
left Child on the third-floor balcony unattended. While Child
was on the balcony, Mother and George were