In domestic cases, trial courts are given wide discretion to decide matters initially, such as when the parties divorce or later in child-support and/or physical and/or legal custody modification proceedings. Further, because so much time, emotion, and judicial resources go into domestic cases, Indiana’s appellate court gives trial courts vast leeway to judge the credibility of witnesses when deciding issues.2 Even if the Court of Appeals might have decided the case differently, it defers to domestic courts on how much weight to assign to a witnesses’ credibility. However, the appellate court’s do not defer to the trial court if it applies ...
May 6, 2020CD
As stay-at-home orders continue for Indiana, many parents have been denied parenting time on the grounds of COVID-19. The Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, Loretta Rush, issued an order on March 31, 2020 that parenting time orders remain in force during COVID-19. This means that drop-offs and pick-ups should continue.1 Governor Holcomb’s stay-at-home orders have all made exceptions for court orders (which would include custody and parenting time orders) to be excluded from the stay-at-home orders. This blog explores what you can do if you are being denied parenting time and other parenting time considerations during the COVID-19 ...
May 1, 2020CD
The special aspect of a trial is you are able to have a neutral judge (who is a lawyer) hear the unique facts of your case and receive evidence in the form of exhibits (documents) and live testimony from witnesses before applying the relevant law and deciding your case. This does not occur with appeals to a higher court. However, there are times when key witnesses simply cannot come to court to testify because of infirmity or distance (some may even live abroad) so they need to testify by phone if possible. This blog explores the problem with witness telephonic ...
April 23, 2020CD
Maybe? In Indiana, almost all divorce laws are created by statutes, generally called the Divorce Act. The Legislature specifically created the right to divorce.1 As long as one party puts on evidence of a valid reason for divorce, the other party cannot refuse to divorce. The reasons are irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, conviction of either spouse subsequent to the marriage of a felony, impotence, and incurable insanity of either party for a period of at least two (2) years.2 Any of these reasons and social and/or religious stigma sometimes, will have a party asking if they can file their ...
April 22, 2020CD
In Indiana, divorced parents can1 be ordered to contribute toward their adult child’s college expenses.2 While parents have argued that this violates equal protection, because married couples are free to choose not to contribute toward their children’s college, Indiana appellate courts have rejected this argument.13 In fact, Indiana trial court judges have broad discretion to determine what is included in an educational support order.4 However, parents are not required to contribute toward their child’s graduate degree.5 That said, this blog focuses on a narrow exception when a parent is not required to contribute toward college when his or her child ...
April 21, 2020CD
Child custody proceedings tend to be confusing and emotional times. Whether it is an initial custody determination or a modification of a pre-existing custody order, the process is emotionally and financially draining on all involved parties. You can relieve some of the burden by avoiding some common mistakes many individuals make in custody proceedings. In this blog, we provide five child custody mistakes for you to avoid in Indiana. Letting Your Anger Get the Best of You. Many individuals let their emotions control their actions in custody proceedings, with the most common of emotions being anger. This is understandable, because, custody ...
April 16, 2020CD
Divorce is hard. Not only is it an emotional time, but also extremely stressful due to the confusion and uncertainty many experience. However, much of this stress can be relieved by being informed of the divorce process and preparing for what’s ahead. In this blog, we provide you with five things for you to consider when undergoing the divorce process in Indiana. You Won’t “Win”. The first thing you must know is that you won’t “win” a divorce. No matter how favorable a divorce decree may be for an individual, no one ever walks away feeling they have really won anything. ...
April 15, 2020CD
As a general rule, a party can file for divorce at any time so long as the marriage is irretrievably broken.1 After a divorce is final, a party may move to modify custody at any time but has to show a substantial change in circumstance to prevail. Equally, a party may file a request to modify child support at any time, but evidentiary requirements are different if the support has been modified within a year or after. That said, everyone knows the Coronavirus has crippled most all facets of our society and it impacts the court. This blog explores filing ...
April 13, 2020CD
In Indiana, there have been significant layoffs and job terminations due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. For non-custodial parents who pay child support, suddenly their child support payments paid through a typical income withholding order does not occur. However, just because you lose your job does not lower or terminate your child support obligation. You have to act. The same is true if you are paying child support directly through the clerk. If you do nothing, your child support will continue to be owed and come to add up to a significant arrearage. This blog discusses options for parents ...
April 6, 2020CD
On March 6, 2020, Governor Holcomb issued executive order 20-02 formally declaring a public health disaster in Indiana due to the novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak. Since at least that time, parents of divorce who have children or couples who had children out of wedlock began wondering how this impacted physical custody and parenting time. While some parents carried on as normal with their parenting time exchanges, others took the position that the children would remain with them and not be out being exchanged for the duration of the disaster. Judges and lawyers conducted frantic group calls to determine how to ...
April 1, 2020CD