Yes. No. Maybe. In Indiana, child custody is always modifiable, if modification is in the child’s best interests and there is a substantial change in one (1) or more factors1 the court can consider under the initial custody determination statute, namely (1) the age and sex of the child; (2) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents; (3) the wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child’s wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age; (4) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings, and ...
June 5, 2020CD
Most seasoned family law attorneys have consulted with divorced parties who learn after the divorce, that a spouse did not disclose assets. These potential clients want to know what, if any remedy, they have in pursuing their share of that asset. The threshold issue is to determine from a cost-benefit analysis if the fight is worth your percentage of the non-disclosed asset. If the account or asset is only worth a few hundred or thousand dollars, then the legal fees and emotional grief related to litigation usually are not worth the fight. On the other hand, if the secreted asset ...
June 4, 2020CD
The prospect of a divorce for a stay-at-home parent can be overwhelming, raising questions like, “How do I get a job because I have lost my skills being out of the workforce for so long?” to “If I obtain physical custody of the children, can I remain in the marital home?” Clearly, divorce will be life-changing for these parents. This blog covers protections and rights of stay-at-home parents in divorce cases. First, and perhaps frightening for the stay-at-home parent, is that there is a presumption of an equal division of property. This includes what you brought into the marriage and acquired ...
June 4, 2020CD
When most couples marry, they slowly and unwittingly merge their financial, business, and personal lives together. They may have a car loan on a car purchased for the husband, but as time goes on, it makes sense for the wife to drive it, such as if one car dies and the husband gets a company car. A joint account may be equally contributed to or each party’s paycheck goes into it and is used to pay for all bills. Parties, in fact, have rituals for who pays what and how the household is handled that are unsaid and unwritten but ...
May 28, 2020CD
In most civil litigation, when you are sued, such as in a divorce, which is technically a complaint, you have to provide an answer to avoid a default judgment and losing.1 However, in divorce, there is no requirement to provide a cross-petition (or answer in a technical sense).2 Yet in a few instances, it may make sense to cross-petition. This blog addresses cross-petitions and their uses and some common myths surrounding cross-petitions. Factual mistakes: Perhaps the most common reason to file a cross-petition is that the divorce petition has factual mistakes that should be corrected to have accurate filings before the ...
May 28, 2020CD
While many types of evidence might help establish a substantial change1 to modify physical custody, some key statutory and evidentiary rules may help you understand how or if your proposed “evidence” might be offered and admitted at trial. For instance, a child’s attendance records, if he or she has excessive absences, may be evidence to show a substantial change, as the custodial parent is not getting the child to school. However, all evidence has rules governing if it can be used. In this blog post, three (3) key limits on evidence in child custody modification proceedings are analyzed. The first is ...
May 20, 2020CD
The Indiana Civil Protective Order Act (“Act”) provides powerful relief to help ensure the safety of certain covered Hoosiers who find themselves in dangerous situations, such as a victim of domestic violence. Additionally, the Act covers certain minor children in harmful situations or individuals, such as from an abusive or drug-addicted parent. While protective orders issued under the Act are unique and powerful tools, they may be abused in cases by a petitioner’s false allegations and issued against a person who is not a threat to anyone. This blog looks at five things to know about protective orders so that you may ...
May 18, 2020CD
In a divorce in Indiana, everything a party has coming into the marriage and acquired during the marriage until the date of filing is all part of the one-marital pot for the trial court to divide.1 There is a rebuttable presumption the trial court should divide the marital pot equally.2 Effectively, this is everything you both own, minus what you owe, and divide by two, one-half to each party. However, the trial court has the discretion to make an unequal division. That said, in most cases, there is not enough cash to actually make the equal division or deviation from ...
May 15, 2020CD
Maybe. As a general rule, the Indiana Department of Child Services has a hotline that parents and others may call1 (or must if they are a mandated reporter) to report cases where children are in danger. These reports are immediately investigated, and if need be, the children can be removed from one or both parents, followed by an emergency detention hearing. That said, there are remedies divorced parents (and those with children born out of wedlock) may follow to obtain “emergency custody” that does not involve the Indiana Department of Child Services. These legal tools that are available through divorce ...
May 13, 2020CD
Most divorce cases, even those involving complex property issues and hotly contested custody matters resolve at mediation. Those that do not often wind up in final hearings that may go over several non-consecutive days over the expanse of weeks or months. After numerous witnesses, arguments over the admission of exhibits, and cross-examination, most litigants cannot wait to get their divorce decree and order so they can start moving on in life. The question is when should you expect it? This answer to this question is, “it depends”. However, in almost all cases, the court will take the matter “under advisement” ...
May 7, 2020CD