Timothy Ramsey v. Brenda Ramsey and Karl and Cheryl Sodders
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ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT:
Husmann & Stemmer
Union City, Indiana
COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA
KARL and CHERYL SODDERS,
Appellees – Intervenors.
APPEAL FROM THE RANDOLPH CIRCUIT COURT
The Honorable Jay L. Toney, Judge
Cause No. 68C01-0208-DR-260
April 11, 2007
OPINION - FOR PUBLICATION
Case Summary and Issues
Timothy Ramsey appeals the trial court’s grant of Cheryl and Karl Sodders’s petition
for grandparent visitation. On appeal, Ramsey raises several issues, but we find one
dispositive: whether the trial court issued sufficient findings and conclusions along with its
Order. Concluding that the trial court did not issue sufficient findings and conclusions to
support an award of grandparent visitation, we reverse and remand. Because the remaining
issues are likely to recur on remand, we also address Timothy’s arguments of whether the
trial court abused its discretion in awarding unsupervised visitation, and whether the trial
court improperly failed to specify who would bear the cost of court-ordered counseling. We
conclude that insufficient evidence exists to support an award of unsupervised visitation, and
that the trial court’s order indicates that the Sodderses are required to pay for the counseling
and therapeutic visitation.
Facts and Procedural History
Timothy and Brenda Ramsey 1 were married in 1996. During their marriage, they had
one child, L.R. Brenda has three children from a previous marriage, Caleb Lightner, Et.L.,
and Ev.L. Brenda filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in 2002, and shortly thereafter,
Timothy filed a cross-petition for dissolution.
In early July 2003, Brenda removed L.R. from Indiana, without informing Timothy or
the trial court. The Sodderses knew that Brenda was planning on leaving the state with L.R.,
and not only told no one, but also gave Brenda money to assist her departure. One Johonnas
Aikie, also referred to as “the gatekeeper,” was a central figure in the disappearance and re-
location. 2 At some point, Caleb, Et.L., and Ev.L. joined Brenda, L.R., and Aikie. Et.L. and
Ev.L. ran away from their father, Bill Lightner, roughly around the time that Lightner agreed
to allow the Sodderses see his children. However, there is no evidence that the Sodderses
played any role in the Lightner children’s departure.
In October 2003, the Sodderses were joined as third-party defendants in the
dissolution action, and on the same day filed a “Special Judicial Notice,” in which they
alleged, among other things: (1) Timothy and Lightner were operating a RICO enterprise; (2)
Timothy and Lightner stole a four-wheeler from the Sodderses; (3) Timothy auctioned off
equipment not belonging to him; (4) Timothy “stalked and harassed” the Sodderses’
neighbor; (5) Timothy is “a known child molester,” who was “trying to use public media to
continue sexually molesting [L.R.]”; (6) Timothy cut a phone wire running to Brenda’s “trust
house”; (7) Timothy stole woodworking equipment from Brenda’s “trust”; and (8) the case
had been removed to federal court, and that therefore the state court had no jurisdiction to
issue further orders. Appellant’s Appendix at 48-49. Cheryl testified that Aikie had drafted
this document, but that she and her husband had signed and filed it. Timothy subsequently
filed a complaint against the Sodderses alleging libel. In response to this complaint, a
threatening letter, apparently drafted by Aikie, but signed by Karl, was sent to Timothy’s
attorney. Among other things, the letter referred to the suit as “bogus,” and told Timothy’s
attorney, “You have ten days to back out. Otherwise, Timmy will lose big time. . . . So if you
want to push this phony libel suit, GET AFTER IT! Then watch what happens next. . . . And
Brenda now uses the name Dr. Brenda Sodders.
It also appears that Brenda had become involved with the “Little Shell Pembina Band of North
the whole community is watching you to see if you will turn and do what is right, or if you
are going to go down the tubes with him.” Appellant’s Exhibit 3.
In November 2003, the trial court issued a Writ of Assistance instructing the Sheriff to
assist a Receiver and Timothy enter the Sodderses’ property to retrieve Timothy’s
belongings. The Sodderses either removed, or arranged for the removal of, these belongings
before Timothy could retrieve them. In February 2004, the trial court found the Sodderses in
contempt for violating the trial court’s orders. As a result of these findings of contempt, Karl
spent fifty-seven days in jail and twenty-one days on house arrest, and Cheryl spent seventyone days incarcerated or hospitalized. At the immediate hearing, Cheryl repeatedly denied
having lied to the court, but admitted that she had withheld information from the court
regarding the removal of Timothy’s property. 3
Dakota,” and claimed that this organization had adopted L.R.
The following exchange took place between the trial court and Cheryl:
Court: Did you give any incorrect or any misleading information to the Court regarding
your knowledge of that property of where it was going and who took it, anything relating
to that property?
Cheryl: You know I may have, I don’t remember because it was such an emotional time.
We didn’t have any knowledge of where it was or where it went.
Court: But are you indicating that you may have intentionally misled the Court at that
time about your knowledge, your overall knowledge, of this property and where it was
going and how it was getting there?
Cheryl: We told the Court completely what we knew.
Court: You didn’t tell the Court that this property was put in a semi-trailer and you
didn’t know how it was taken and where it went?
Cheryl: At first we did. At first we did because we didn’t know. Somebody else did it,
but we were . . .
Court: But did you have knowledge at that point . . .
Cheryl: We had knowledge . . .
Court: As far as who that individual was and yet you didn’t divulge that to the Court did
Cheryl: Not at that time.
Court: So you gave the Court misleading or incorrect information initially?
Cheryl: The Court probably perceived it as that, yes.
For roughly two years, Timothy was unable to speak to or see L.R., and was unaware
of her whereabouts. During this time, Timothy put up signs asking for assistance in locating
his daughter. Cheryl testified that she and others physically removed these signs because
they felt the signs were a form of harassment. Within the first year of L.R.’s absence, the
Sodderses spoke to L.R. roughly five times, and spoke with Aikie weekly. It does not appear
that the Sodderses ever told Timothy that they were in contact with his daughter, or that they
knew she was alive.
In 2004, while Brenda and L.R.’s whereabouts were unknown, the trial court granted
Timothy and Brenda a dissolution and awarded custody of L.R. to Timothy. Timothy finally
located L.R. in Colorado in June 2005, at which point L.R. returned to Timothy’s home.
Since this return, Timothy still fears that L.R. will once again be taken from him, and has
restricted L.R.’s contact with those he feels were involved in her disappearance. Relevant to
this appeal, he has not allowed the Sodderses visitation with L.R.
Timothy expressed two principle concerns with visitation: that L.R. will be abducted
again, and that the Sodderses will say things to L.R. about Timothy condemning him as a
person and father.
To support these fears, he noted the Sodderses’ role in L.R.’s
disappearance, and testified that Brenda would often say bad things about Lightner in front of
Et.L. and Ev.L. while Cheryl was present, and that Cheryl was supportive of Brenda. He also
Court: No, I am not asking what the Court perceived. Were you asked questions about
this property and who was taking it and you had knowledge that you did not give the
Court when you knew that was being asked of you, that is my question?
Cheryl: I don’t know how to answer that except that I did not lie about it.
Court: Did you withhold information from the Court that you knew the Court wanted
with regard to that property?
noted the document that the Sodderses filed with the court accusing him of operating a RICO
enterprise and molesting L.R. As Timothy’s counsel pointed out, Cheryl testified that she
still believes that Timothy molested and abused L.R. in the past, and that she does not fear
for L.R.’s safety now because she believes Timothy’s new wife is protecting L.R. See Tr. at
119, 230. Cheryl also indicated that she feels Timothy should not have attempted to obtain
custody of L.R. after Brenda removed L.R. from Indiana. See Tr. at 121 (responding to the
question “Tim should not [have tried] to get custody of [L.R.], why?” Cheryl answered,
“Why should he have, we don’t have any reason for him to have tried that. It happened while
she was gone that is the only reason it happened.”).
Timothy has indicated that he would like L.R. to see the Sodderses at some point. He
testified that “I will never keep [L.R.] from her brothers or [her] mother or [her]
grandparents, but not right now. . . . I have to have trust.” Id. at 164. Timothy testified that
in order to have trust, the Sodderses would need to apologize to him for helping Brenda
abscond with L.R. and for making accusations of molestation against him.
Dr. Susan Spencer, a psychologist who had been working with L.R. and Timothy, also
agreed that it would be beneficial for L.R. to eventually be reunited with her grandparents.
However, she testified that “I am not so sure [visitation with the grandparents] is important at
this point. I think grandparents have a very definite role in the child’s life and at some time
there should be a reunification. But only after it has been determined that [it] can be in the
child’s best interest and not do any further harm to her.” Id. at 47. She also testified that if
visitation were to occur, “it would need to be done in a controlled environment where a
Tr. at 105-06.
therapist could hear what is being said and [the Sodderses] have to understand clearly that
they would not be allowed to say anything negative or derogatory about [Timothy].” Id. at
76. She also gave her opinion that it would be in L.R.’s best interests to wait until she had
finished her current school year, at the time a period of roughly seven months, to begin any
sort of reunification process with any family members. Finally, she gave her opinion that at
that time, grandparent visitation was not in L.R.’s best interests.
Cheryl testified that she was no longer in contact with Aikie or Brenda, that she and
her husband would not make any attempt to assist a removal of L.R. from Indiana, and that
she would do everything she could to protect L.R. She testified that she believes visitation
would be best for L.R., and that she and her husband would not do anything to undermine
Timothy’s relationship with L.R.
On June 28, 2006, 4 the trial court issued an Order on Verified Petition for Visitation,
along with findings and conclusions. 5 The trial court made the following conclusions:
1. That since the return of [L.R.] to [Timothy], [Timothy] has acted in the
best interest of [L.R.] by not permitting [the Sodderses] to visit with [L.R.]
through this difficult period in [L.R.’s] life.
2. That by restricting [L.R.’s] contact with some family members,
[Timothy] has helped [L.R.] begin to achieve a sense of stability.
3. That [Timothy’s] decisions as to [L.R.’s] contact with other family
members must be given special weight by the Court.
4. That despite the special weight that must be accorded [Timothy’s]
decisions, it would now be in the best interest of [L.R.] to have contact with
5. That the initial contact between [the Sodderses] and [L.R.] should take
We note that by this date, L.R. would likely have finished the first grade, her “current school
year” at the time of the hearing.
Under Indiana Code section 31-17-5-6, the trial court is required to issue findings and
conclusions along with its order regarding grandparent visitation.
place in a therapeutic setting.
6. That [the Sodderses] should have an initial visit with the therapist prior to
the visit with [L.R.], in order to discuss [L.R.’s] needs, as well as to discuss
the dynamics of the reunification.
7. That following the therapeutic visits, [the Sodderses] should have several
short visits prior to an expanded visit.
8. Following this period of re-introduction of [the Sodderses] into [L.R.’s] life,
[the Sodderses] should have a monthly, unsupervised, six hour visit with
Appellant’s App. at 31.
Timothy now appeals the trial court’s order.
Discussion and Decision
I. General Principles of Grandparent Visitation
Grandparents “do not have the legal rights or obligations of parents,” and “do not
possess a constitutional liberty interest in visitation with their grandchildren.” Swartz v.
Swartz, 720 N.E.2d 1219, 1221-22 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999). On the other hand, parents do have
a “constitutionally recognized fundamental right to control the upbringing, education, and
religious training of their children.” Id.; see also Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65-66
(2000) (plurality opinion). However, our legislature has enacted the Grandparent Visitation
Act, Ind. Code § 31-17-5-1 et seq. (the “Act”), recognizing that “a child’s best interest is
often served by developing and maintaining contact with his or her grandparents.” Swartz,
720 N.E.2d at 1221; see Troxel, 530 U.S. at 63-64 (discussing rationale for protecting
relationship between grandparent and child). This Act constitutes a balance between “the
rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit and the rights of grandparents to
participate in the lives of their grandchildren.” Id.
Under the Act, a trial court may grant visitation rights if it determines that “visitation
rights are in the best interest of the child.” Ind. Code § 31-17-5-2. This determination is a
matter for the trial court’s discretion, and we will reverse only upon a showing of an abuse of
that discretion. Swartz, 720 N.E.2d at 1221. An abuse of discretion exists where the trial
court’s decision is clearly against the logic and effects of the facts and circumstances before
the trial court or the reasonable, probable deductions to be drawn therefrom. Id. We will
neither reweigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of the witnesses. Id.
We also note that in this case, the Sodderses did not file an appellate brief. When an
appellee fails to submit a brief, we will not “undertake the burden of developing arguments
for the appellee.” In re Paternity of B.D.D., 779 N.E.2d 9, 13 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002). In these
situations, “[w]e apply a less stringent standard of review with respect to showings of
reversible error, and we may reverse the trial court’s decision if the appellant can establish
prima facie error.” Id. In this context, prima facie error is defined as “at first sight, on first
appearance, or on the face of it.” Id. (citations omitted). We will affirm unless an appellant
can show such error. Id.
II. The Trial Court’s Findings and Conclusions
Timothy argues that the trial court issued insufficient findings and conclusions
because the trial court did not indicate that it afforded Timothy the presumption that he was
acting in L.R.’s best interests when denying visitation. We agree.
When a trial court issues an order on a petition for grandparent visitation, it must issue
findings and conclusions. Ind. Code § 31-17-5-6. In McCune v. Frey, 783 N.E.2d 752 (Ind.
Ct. App. 2003), we indicated that these findings and conclusions should specifically address
four factors: “(1) the presumption that a fit parent acts in his or her child’s best interests; (2)
the special weight that must be given to a fit parent’s decision to deny or limit visitation; (3)
whether the grandparent has established that visitation is in the child’s best interests; and (4)
whether the parent has denied visitation or has simply limited visitation.” Spaulding v.
Williams, 793 N.E.2d 252, 257 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003) (citing McCune, 783 N.E.2d at 755).
The trial court may also consider whether grandparents have had or have attempted to have
meaningful contact with the child. Ind. Code § 31-17-5-2.
Although McCune indicated that the trial court merely “should” address these four
factors, 783 N.E.2d at 755, subsequent cases have interpreted McCune as establishing
substantive requirements with which a trial court must comply when issuing an order on
grandparent visitation. See In re Paternity of P.E.M., 818 N.E.2d 32, 37 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004)
(stating that in McCune “we held that when entering a decree granting or denying
grandparent visitation, the trial court must set forth findings of fact and conclusions of law
addressing [the four factors]” (emphasis added)); Megyese v. Woods, 808 N.E.2d 1208, 1216
(Ind. Ct. App. 2004) (“The trial court expressly entered findings of fact and conclusions
thereon, therefore satisfying the requirements of T.R. 52 and I.C. § 31-17-5-6, so we must
determine whether the trial court complied with the more specific requirements of McCune.”
(emphasis added)); cf. Wilson v. Cloum, 797 N.E.2d 288, 291 n.2 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003), trans.
denied (declining to reverse even though trial court did not specifically address the four
McCune factors partly because the trial court issued its order before McCune was decided);
Spaulding, 793 N.E.2d at 257 n.1 (noting that trial court was not required to comply with
McCune requirements because trial court issued its order before McCune was decided).
Based on this case law, we agree with Timothy that the trial court was required to comply not
only with the statutory requirement that it issue findings and conclusions, but also with the
requirement established by McCune that it specifically address the four factors.
The trial court in this case issued a finding indicating that it gave Timothy’s decision
to restrict visitation special weight. However, nowhere in its findings does the trial court
indicate that it afforded Timothy the benefit of the presumption that his decision was in
L.R.’s best interest. The requirement that a trial court give special weight to a parent’s
decision is distinct from the requirement that a trial court presume that a fit parent’s decision
is in the child’s best interest. 6 See Megyese, 808 N.E.2d at 1216 (analyzing separately
whether the trial court applied the presumption and whether the trial court gave parent’s
decision special weight); McCune, 783 N.E.2d at 759 (“[I]t is not clear from the record
before us whether the trial court applied the presumption that a fit parent acts in his or her
child’s best interests, and whether the court gave special weight to that decision.” (emphasis
Although the concepts are related in that they both establish hurdles for
grandparents attempting to secure visitation, they differ in important aspects. The weight of
certain evidence refers to “[t]he persuasiveness of some evidence in comparison with other
evidence.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1588 (7th ed. 1999). A presumption, on the other hand,
is “[a] legal inference or assumption that a fact exists.” Id. at 1203. “A presumption shifts
We recognize that language in Crafton v. Gibson, 752 N.E.2d 78 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001), may
seem to intertwine the concepts of the presumption that a fit parent acts in the child’s best interest and the
special weight given to a parent’s decision. See id. at 96 (“As such, the trial court was required . . . to
give special weight to her decision not to allow Gibson visitation with her minor children. That said, it is
important to note that this presumption is rebuttable.”). However, Crafton was decided before McCune
and its progeny established the substantive requirement that the trial court specifically and individually
identify these two concepts in its findings.
the burden of production or persuasion to the opposing party, who can then attempt to
overcome the presumption.” Id. Thus, the requirement that the trial court recognize the
presumption ensures that the trial court properly allocates the burden of proof, while the
requirement that the trial court afford the parent’s decision special weight deals with the trial
court’s process of weighing the evidence.
We recognize that we generally presume trial courts know and follow the applicable
law. Thurman v. State, 793 N.E.2d 318, 321 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003). However, this
presumption can be overcome if the trial court’s findings lead us to conclude that an
unjustifiable risk exists that the trial court did not follow the applicable law. Cf. Alexander
v. State, 768 N.E.2d 971, 978 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), aff’d on reh’g, 772 N.E.2d 476, trans.
denied (although appellate court presumes that trial court follows applicable law, trial court’s
findings indicated that it failed to do so). Here, in addition to the trial court’s failure to
specifically identify the presumption that Timothy acted in L.R.’s best interest in denying
visitation, the remainder of the trial court’s findings give cause to worry that the trial court
did not actually find that the Sodderses overcame this presumption.
First, the trial court’s findings surprisingly contain no mention of the animosity
between the Sodderses and Timothy. This absence is especially notable because:
The ultimate question is whether visitation in the face of family discord is in
the child’s best interest. That question can only be answered by looking at the
totality of the circumstances presented. While the relationship may, in any
given case, be sufficient to make grandparent visitation in the child’s best
interest, notwithstanding the dissension between the parent and grandparent, it
may not be sufficient to overcome the effects of the discord on the child in
Daugherty v. Ritter, 646 N.E.2d 66, 68 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995), adopted by 652 N.E.2d 502
Animosity between the parties is apparent from the record. The Sodderses have
publicly accused Timothy of operating a RICO enterprise, stealing various items, and
sexually abusing L.R. In response to these accusations, Timothy filed a libel suit, which was
met with a threatening letter from Karl. Although Cheryl testified that it was a mistake to
have filed the document accusing Timothy of the various crimes, at trial she testified that she
still believes Timothy molested L.R. at some point. Cheryl’s testimony also indicates that
she still feels that Timothy should not have attempted to obtain custody of L.R. after Brenda
removed her from the State. Timothy testified that one of his principle concerns with
allowing visitation was that the Sodderses would undermine his relationship with L.R. by
saying derogatory things to L.R. about Timothy. Dr. Spencer also gave her professional
opinion that hearing negative things from family members about Timothy would harm L.R.’s
development. The failure of the trial court to address this evidence in its findings shakes our
confidence that it actually afforded Timothy the presumption and found that the Sodderses
had overcome it.
Second, although the trial court entered findings relating to the Sodderses’
involvement in L.R.’s removal and disappearance, the trial court entered no findings as to
how the Sodderses have alleviated the concern that they would once again facilitate a
removal. Timothy certainly expressed concern at the hearing that L.R. would once again be
removed, and indicated that this concern was the primary reason he was not permitting the
Sodderses visitation with L.R. Again, the fact that the trial court’s findings indicate the
Sodderses facilitated L.R.’s disappearance and fail to present any indication of evidence that
the Sodderses will not again facilitate a removal shakes our confidence in the trial court’s
The trial court’s findings failed to articulate the proper burden of proof as required by
McCune. Also, the findings and conclusions it did enter leave us with substantial concern as
to whether the trial court properly assigned this burden of proof. The failure of a trial court
to enter the required findings is “a defect in form, or procedural irregularity, which is capable
of being cured.” Paternity of P.E.M., 818 N.E.2d at 37. When a trial court fails to issue
specific findings in accordance with McCune, the order is voidable, and the remedy on
appeal is a remand to the trial court instructing it to enter a proper order containing the
required findings. Id. Therefore, we remand to the trial court with instructions to enter more
specific findings and conclusions indicating that Timothy’s decision to deny visitation is
presumed to be in L.R.’s best interest, and as to whether the Sodderses introduced sufficient
evidence to overcome this presumption.
III. Unsupervised Visitation
Although we remand, we address Timothy’s argument that the evidence does not
support an order of unsupervised visitation, as this issue may recur. Although we cannot be
sure whether the trial court properly applied the presumption in Timothy’s favor, we can
address this issue as the trial court’s failure to apply the correct presumption could only have
helped the Sodderses. Cf. Harris v. Smith, 752 N.E.2d 1283, 1289 n.6 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001)
(noting that even if the trial court had failed to apply a statutory presumption in favor of a
parent, the trial court still awarded custody to the parent, so any error would have favored the
opposing party). Therefore we review the record to determine whether sufficient evidence
exists to support the trial court’s order of unsupervised visitation.
As discussed above, Timothy introduced substantial evidence relating to L.R.’s
removal and the Sodderses’ accusations against Timothy demonstrating the danger of
unsupervised visitation. Dr. Spencer also gave her professional opinion that hearing negative
things from family members about Timothy would harm L.R.’s development. Dr. Spencer
testified that to alleviate these concerns, reunification should occur in a therapeutic setting.
She also testified that another removal such as happened before would be extremely
detrimental to L.R.’s development. Although an order of supervised visitation would dispel
most of the concerns relating to another removal or that the Sodderses would poison L.R.’s
mind against Timothy, these concerns are clearly present with unsupervised visitation.
We recognize that the trial court’s order indicates that the Sodderses must attend a
session with Dr. Spencer, that the initial three visits between L.R. and the Sodderses should
be supervised, and that Timothy has the right to be present at the following two visits.
However, the trial court’s order makes a leap of faith that following these few weeks, the
concerns that the Sodderses will poison L.R.’s mind against Timothy or assist in another
removal will be alleviated. We fail to find any evidence indicating that one session of
counseling and three visits in a therapeutic setting can ensure L.R.’s safety or that her best
interest will be served through unsupervised visitation with a couple who assisted Brenda in
removing L.R. from Indiana in violation of a court order, filed documents in court accusing
Timothy of various illegal and immoral activity, violated court orders relating to Timothy’s
property, and who still believe Timothy molested L.R.
In all, we conclude that insufficient evidence exists to support an order of
unsupervised visitation. Timothy’s concerns relating to allowing his daughter to spend
unsupervised time with the Sodderses are completely legitimate. In the face of this evidence
clearly indicating the potential dangers of unsupervised visitation, the trial court issued no
findings supporting an order of unsupervised visitation, and we have found no evidence in
the record that clearly supports such an order. 7
This is not to say that unsupervised visitation between L.R. and the Sodderses would
never be appropriate. A visitation schedule ordered by a trial court is not permanent; instead
the trial court “may modify an order granting or denying visitation rights whenever
modification would serve the best interests of the child.” Ind. Code § 31-17-5-7. As we have
previously noted, “[s]uch judicial oversight adequately protects the integrity of the family
while promoting the welfare of the children.” Sightes v. Barker, 684 N.E.2d 224, 231 (Ind.
Ct. App. 1997), trans. denied. It might very well be that after a period of supervised
visitation, evidence of the Sodderses’ behavior during these visitation periods, or a change in
the relationship between the Sodderses and Timothy, would justify an order for supervised
visitation. However, based on the record before us, the trial court’s order granting
unsupervised visitation was an abuse of discretion.
IV. Responsibility to Pay for Therapy
Timothy argues that the trial court abused its discretion in failing to indicate in its
Order who bears the responsibility of paying for the court-ordered counseling session and
therapeutic visits. Although the trial court’s Order does not explicitly indicate that the
We note again that the Sodderses did not file an appellate brief, and that therefore we have not
undertaken the burden of developing arguments on their behalf.
Sodderses must pay for the counseling and therapeutic visits, the Order’s language clearly
indicates the trial court’s intention that the Sodderses pay for these services. Cf. Lawson v.
Hayden, 786 N.E.2d 756, 761 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003), disapproved of on other grounds, Severs
v. Severs, 837 N.E.2d 498, 500 (Ind. 2005) (“Although the trial court did not explicitly state
a conclusion that the disability benefits were marital property, the best interpretation of the
language of the order indicates to us that such was its intention.”). The Order states that the
Sodderses “shall schedule and complete a session with Dr. Susan Spencer in anticipation of
therapeutic visits with [L.R.],” and that the Sodderses “shall have three (3) therapeutic visits
with [L.R.] and Dr. Susan Spencer, with all therapeutic visits to be completed within six (6)
weeks of the [Sodderses] initial session with Dr. Spencer. [Timothy] may be present for
these visits if he chooses.” Appellant’s App. at 31-32. We find it implicit in the trial court’s
order that the Sodderses schedule and complete a session with Dr. Spencer that the Sodderses
also pay Dr. Spencer for that session. Likewise, it is implicit that the Sodderses pay for the
therapeutic sessions, which the Sodderses are required to attend, and Timothy may attend
voluntarily. We conclude that the trial court’s Order clearly indicates that the Sodderses bear
the responsibility of paying for their counseling session and therapeutic visits with L.R.
We conclude that the trial court’s Order did not contain the requisite findings
indicating that it applied the presumption that Timothy’s decision to deny grandparent
visitation was in L.R.’s best interest. We also conclude that the trial court abused its
discretion in awarding unsupervised visitation. Finally, we conclude that the trial court’s
Order indicates that the Sodderses are required to pay for the counseling and therapeutic
Reversed, and remanded.
BAKER, C.J., and DARDEN, J., concur.