In paternity and divorce cases, parties sometimes do not fully understand “legal custody.” Legal custody has nothing to do with who a child stays with for parenting time or custody. Instead, it is which parent(s) has the authority to make decisions about the child’s health, education, and religions decisions.1 If it is in a child’s best interests, the court may award joint legal custody. This is generally appropriate and in the child’s best interests when the parents have a generally shared view of these matters, ...
Trials are dynamic events and no two are the same, even on the same or similar issues between the same parties. To have a fair and accurate trial free of most types of evidence that can misdirect a court, there are four key rules of evidence parties and witnesses struggle to follow as sometimes they seem counter-intuitive. These are addressed in this blog post to help you put your best foot forward at trial. The first is hearsay. Unless the matter is what one “party” (not other witness) has ...
June 16, 2015 / Custody Relocation
Supposing a custodial parent is permitted by a court to relocate with the child to another state, there are often matters that arise after relocation that must be decided by a court with regard to the child. This brings up a relatively frequent question of which court decides, the court in the child’s former state of residence, generally the “home state,” or the state where the child now resides. Generally, the court in the child’s former “home state” retains jurisdiction so long as the non-relocating parent resides there. However, a petition ...
Tens of thousands of cases are filed and decided by Indiana’s trial court judges each year. Every judge and attorney knows the importance of telling the story of your position to give you your best day in court. However, for the legal system to work as it should, litigants themselves play a key role at trial. These may seem obvious, but it is amazing how the stress of a trial or nervous excitement may cause you not to be prepared for court. Here ...
March 3, 2015 / Custody Relocation
In the 1960s, it was common for a parent and child(ren) to take a “vacation” to another state, file divorce, and have this new state decide custody matters. Ultimately, this gained enough attention that the laws changed, as this new state would not have the necessary evidence to decide custody fully in a child’s best interests, and as a policy matter, “rewarded” a parent who fled to avoid a court best positioned to decide divorce, custody, and property matters. For this reason, more or less uniform child custody jurisdiction laws1 were ...
February 24, 2015 / Custody Evaluation
Disputes over child custody, parenting time or visitation are often referred to third party professionals to investigation the matter fully and make a recommendation to the court.1 This process often leads to settlement and more streamlined trials. However, a court, who must use its discretion and make a child custody determination is not bound by an evaluator’s recommendations, but is likely to follow them. Custody cases usually involve a great-deal of emotion and “he-said, she-said.” For this reason, the key point of the evaluator—making a best interests recommendation to the court--is ...
January 19, 2015 / Supreme Court
The sometimes-bitter litigation between a child’s adoptive parent and her grandparents who raised her from a young age yielded a decision from the state’s highest court that family law experts believe may represent a significant shift in adoption cases...read more on Indiana Lawyer.
In previous blogs we have discussed what property is considered “marital” property and subject to division between the spouses when they divorce. Generally, all property owned by either spouse before or during the marriage, regardless of who is the account holder or title holder, is “marital” and divided equitably (fairly, usually 50/50). Determining what IS marital property is only the first step towards dividing it up during a divorce action. The second step is to determine the value. The court has discretion to chose ...
There are two (2) major types of Orders that a court could issue which would prevent contact of some kind with another person. It is important to know the differences to understand your rights, and relief available if the Order is violated, or the punishments/implications for violating an Order. Protective Orders, or POs, are a civil lawsuit used to protect a victim against a harasser or stalker. POs are civil lawsuits, which require an individual person to petition (ask) the court for relief. POs are in ...
With our society becoming more and more mobile, and travel becoming easier, relocation from state to state, city to city, and even country to country, is becoming a common issue in post divorce and paternity cases. When one parent desires to relocate far enough away that the current custodial arrangement becomes unworkable, then what? Adding to the confusion is the trend that more and more parents are sharing joint physical custody. Either parent can relocate to a new town, city, ...