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Four Red Flags In Divorce: Are You Waiving A Red Flag Or A White One?

Divorce attorneys all want to help every client or potential client meet their legal objective, which may range from a certain distribution of assets to specifics of custody. However, unlike most areas of law every seasoned family law attorney or judge will tell you emotion fuels divorce and a litigant often is in the best of time (freedom) and the worst of times (lower economic standard with two households) at the same time.

Most litigants want to waive the white or checkered flag and have the divorce behind them.

However, a small percentage of cases are “white” hot, meaning the case—maybe your case—is one that raises red flags for attorneys. With these cases, all of the wrongs of the past become focused on and attributed to the other spouse. There may be little you can do to stop your case from being a red flag case, but identifying it will help you work with your attorney to minimize a bad situation and ultimately put it behind you.

The first red flag is an “emergency,” and in many aspects, is a commonality in the other
“red flags.” In many respects, every issue in every divorce is an emergency because the time with the children or money being spent may not be recovered. However, in most cases, it took a long time to get to the matter and will take time to unwind. Good attorneys do not sit idly by waiting to address an emergency. And trial court’s disfavor many motions or requests being labeled as an “emergency.”

It may take days or weeks to get the matter resolved. If it were easy to do so, an attorney and/or court would not be involved. The point to take from this is that if you understand this, it will keep you from having doubt in your counsel and the legal system and make the best of a bad situation.

The second issue is where a protective order is filed before or during the divorce or custody or paternity proceedings. A protective order makes the case take longer, and often causes immediate issues with where a party may live and/or contact with the children. Recognizing this, courts will often consolidate both cases into one court to avoid duplication of litigation, expense, and make the case more apt move along in an efficient way.

Thirdly, reports of abuse or neglect to child services are for the benefit of a child—they protect the child. However, where this occurs, the divorce or paternity courts share concurrent jurisdiction. This means that it is likely two proceedings can be going on. This creates complexity and causes more legal expense and time to resolve. Again, the important point is to avoid this causing you to question or blame your attorney or the court. Both exist to help.

Finally, assuming any one or all of these cases is pending, sometimes a criminal case is filed. This may allege a violation of a protective order, spousal abuse, or neglect of the children. This creates the need for more court time, perhaps a criminal attorney, and invokes legal issues that sometimes compete with each other. For instance, in a criminal case there is the right to remain silent; and this extends into any other companion case.1 However, remaining silent may well have a significant negative impact on the other cases. Your attorney and court are there to assist, but cannot undo outside events.

This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. and is for general educational purposes only. It is not legal advice, or solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle civil and criminal appeals from all Indiana state trial courts, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, or United States Supreme Court.


  1. Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
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Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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Based in Indianapolis and founded in 1995, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. is a niche law firm focused on successfully dealing with the complexities of divorce, high-conflict child custody and family law. Known for their ability to solve extremely complex situations with high quality work and responsiveness, Ciyou & Dixon will guide you every step of the way. The family law attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. will help you precisely identify your objectives and the means to reach your desired result. In addition, this practice focus is augmented by the firm's other three core areas, namely appellate advocacy, civil practice, and firearms law. Life is uncertain. Be certain of your counselSM.

Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. of Indianapolis, Indiana, offers legal services for Indianapolis, Zionsville, Noblesville, Carmel, Avon, Anderson, Danville, Greenwood, Brownsburg, Geist, Fortville, McCordsville, Muncie, Greenfield, Westfield, Fort Wayne, Fishers, Bloomington, Lafayette, Marion County, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Allen County, Delaware County, Morgan County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Vigo County, Johnson County, Hancock County, and Tippecanoe County, Indiana.