(BEDFORD) – Lawrence Circuit Court Judge Nathan G. Nikirk has announced his intention to run as a Republican candidate for Judge of the Lawrence Circuit Court in the 2020 elections.
Judge Nikirk, was appointed as Lawrence Circuit Court Judge in September 2019 by Governor Eric J. Holcomb. Prior to Governor Holcomb’s appointment, Judge Nikirk served as the Lawrence Circuit Court Juvenile Referee from March 2018 until May 2019. From May 2019 until Governor Holcomb’s appointment in September 2019 Judge Nikirk served as Permanent Judge Pro Tempore by order of the Indiana Supreme Court after Judge Andrea K. McCord was appointed to the United States Bankruptcy
Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
In his capacity as Juvenile Referee, Nikirk presided over cases involving juvenile delinquency, CHINS (child abuse and neglect filed by DCS), termination of parental rights, and paternity (including issues of custody, parenting time and child support). Nikirk also presided over the Lawrence County Juvenile Problem-Solving Court.
Through the Juvenile Problem-Solving Court, Nikirk has created community partnerships and collaborated with local schools, mental health providers and addiction specialists. The opioid epidemic placed Nikirk on the front lines, presiding over hundreds of cases affecting not only those addicted drugs but making decisions about the best interests of innocent children
stuck in the middle.
Judge Nikirk successfully reduced the time children are in foster care by adjusting and adding additional time to the court docket to allow more time for required hearings to take place. With the additional court time and valuable work of CASA’s, attorneys, and family case managers Judge Nikirk was able to make the necessary decisions much faster to help children achieve permanency and stability. Judge Nikirk appointed Anah Hewetson Gouty as his Juvenile Referee in October 2019 after his appointment as Circuit Court Judge. Judge Gouty now presides over all CHINS, juvenile delinquency, and child support enforcement cases under Judge Nikirk’s supervision.
As Circuit Court Judge, Nikirk now presides over family law cases (divorce, child custody, parenting time disputes), adoption proceedings, termination of parental rights cases, guardianships, mortgage foreclosure proceedings, contract disputes, real estate matters, personal injury cases, all probate matters, and all other civil matters filed in Lawrence County.
Before beginning his judicial career, Judge Nikirk was a private practice attorney with the law firm of Pittman, Emery & Nikirk (formerly Donovan, Emery, Hewetson & Pittman) from March 2009 until March 2018. Judge Nikirk also served as an attorney with the Michigan Court of Appeals from 2008 until 2009 when he and his wife moved home to Bedford to join the law firm of Donovan, Emery, Hewetson & Pittman. Prior to practicing law, Judge Nikirk was a middle-school social studies teacher.
As a private practice attorney, Judge Nikirk was licensed to practice law in all courts in the state of Indiana and the United States District Court for the Southern Districts of Indiana. Nikirk practiced extensively in the areas of family law, adoptions, guardianships, probate (wills and trusts), contract disputes, real estate, personal injury, wrongful death, employment law, and banking compliance. Nikirk also served as the attorney for Southern Indiana Adult Guardianship Services (SIAGS) litigating guardianship cases to ensure the safety of elderly citizens in need of assistance.
In July 2018, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed Nikirk to serve on the Juvenile Benchbook Committee with 11 other judicial officers from across the state, providing guidance to judges in the areas of CHINS and juvenile delinquency matters. Judge Nikirk currently serves on several local nonprofit boards in Lawrence County.
While Nikirk has announced his intention to run, the first day an official declaration of candidacy can be filed is January 8, 2020. The chairman of Judge Nikirk’s judicial campaign is a local attorney and former State Senator Brent E. Steele, and Craig L. Turpen, CPA, will be serving as campaign treasurer.
Judge Nikirk is a lifelong resident of Lawrence County, a 1999 graduate of Bedford North Lawrence High School and a 2003 graduate of Indiana University. Nikirk received his law degree from Western Michigan University in 2008. Judge Nikirk is married to Amy Nikirk (Wadsworth) and they have two sons. Amy Nikirk is a Nurse Practitioner at Indiana University Health in