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Filed: 8/1/2019 11:04 AM

Clerk
Johnson County, Indiana

STATE OF INDIANA ) IN THE JOHNSON CIRCUIT COURT


) SS:
COUNTY OF JOHNSON ) CAUSE NUMBER 41C01-1901-JP-000031
41C01-1901-JP-000023
IN RE THE PATERNITY OF: )
ASPEN FRANCIS and )
DENVER FRANCIS )
)
JOSHUA FRANCIS, )
Petitioner, )
)
v. )
)
LACEY MORSE, )
Respondent. )

EMERGENCY VERIFIED MOTION FOR MODIFICATION OF CUSTODY

COMES NOW, Lacey Morse, Mother, by counsel, Valerie Horvath and Rachelle Ponist,

and files her Emergency Verified Motion for Modification of Custody and in support thereof

states as follows:

1. Petitioner/Father, Joshua Francis was provisionally granted temporary primary

physical and sole legal custody of the parties’ minor children per the Court’s Order dated July

16, 2019.

2. On or about July 25, 2019, Father was charged with a Level 6 Felony in Hamilton

County for Domestic Battery committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old and

Strangulation of his girlfriend under cause number 29D03-1907-F6-006165. A copy of the

Probable Cause Affidavit is attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit A.

3. Per the Probable Cause Affidavit, on July 21, 2019, Petitioner/Father, Joshua

Francis, committed the following acts:

a. Father grabbed his girlfriend by the neck and began choking her.

b. Father proceeded to punch his girlfriend in the face.


c. Father then tackled his girlfriend on the stairs, causing her to fall and land on

top of Aspen Francis (the minor child of the parties in this paternity case).

d. Father then took the blood off of his girlfriend’s face and smeared it on the

wall of the apartment.

e. All of this took place in front of two minor children, one of which is a child at

issue in this paternity case.

4. On or about July 26, 2019, an Order Issuing Warrant for Arrest was entered for

Petitioner. A copy of the Order is attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit B.

5. Mother was contacted late in the afternoon on July 30, 2019 by the Department of

Child Services in Hamilton County to notify her of the pending charges and to help coordinate a

time for Mother to come get the children before they were taken into the State’s custody when

the warrant was served on Father.

6. The DCS worker voiced concern to Mother that they were concerned Father was a

flight risk with the children should he be notified of the pending criminal charges in Hamilton

County, and thus requested that she come immediately.

7. On July 31, 2019, Mother was able to come get the minor children, Denver and

Aspen Francis, from Father and has taken them back to Oklahoma to exercise her parenting time.

8. Upon arrival at Father’s home on July 31, 2019, Mother saw that the front door of

the home was wide open, Father and his girlfriend were fighting inside, and the parties’ minor

children were standing in the front yard with their bags crying hysterically.

9. Further, while interacting with Father on July 31, 2019 when Mother picked up

the children, it was incredibly apparent to Mother that Father was heavily intoxicated.

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10. Mother has previously voiced to both counsel and the Court about her serious

concerns about Father’s violent tendencies, his abuse of alcohol, and the safety of the children in

his care.

11. Father currently has another pending criminal case in Johnson County under

cause number 41C01-1808-F6-000455 for driving while intoxicated, causing an accident, with

the parties two minor children in the car, that resulted in one of the parties’ minor children being

injured.

12. Father is a severe threat to the safety and the well-being of the parties’ minor

children at this time.

13. Mother requests that the children be immediately placed in her custody and that

Father have no parenting time until these issues can be heard at a hearing.

14. Mother requests that she be able to appear telephonically for the Emergency

Hearing as she has had to travel and back forth from Oklahoma to Indiana frequently recently

and it is placing a substantial financial burden on her.

15. That after a hearing can be held in this matter, Mother would request the

following relief:

a. That Mother have sole legal and physical custody of the minor children;

b. That Father’s parenting time with minor children be either temporarily

terminated or supervised only;

c. That Father be ordered to pay Mother child support; and

d. That Father be ordered to pay Mother’s attorney’s fees for having to bring this

Motion.

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WHEREFORE, Lacey Morse, Mother, requests the Court 1) enter an Emergency Order

granting her temporary sole legal and physical custody of the parties two minor children, 2) that

Father have no parenting time with minor children, 3) set this matter for an emergency hearing,

and 4) and for other relief as is just and proper.

I SWEAR UNDER THE PENALTIES OF PERJURY THAT THE ABOVE REFERNCED


STATEMENTS ARE TRUE AND ACCURATE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE.

/s/ Lacey Morse


Lacey Morse, Respondent

Respectfully submitted,

HAND | PONIST

/s/ Rachelle N. Ponist


Rachelle N. Ponist, 31464-32
Valerie Horvath, 21449-49
1512 N. Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 964-6000
RPonist@HandPonist.com
VHorvath@HandPonist.com

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

The undersigned hereby certifies that a copy of the foregoing has been served on August
1, 2019, in the following manner upon the following individual(s):

Court’s electronic filing system


Certified Mail
First Class U.S. Mail, postage prepaid
Service on Individual
Email

Maritza Webb

/s/ Rachelle N. Ponist


Rachelle N. Ponist