Clearly, natural and adoptive parents have a fundamental right to raise their children.1 However, given these constraints, the Indiana Courts have four important tools by statues and one by caselaw to utilize to assist third parties to obtain “custody” of children where their well-being depends on it. The reality in the United States is that millions and millions of children are primarily raised by people other than their parents, mostly by grandparents and relatives. Millions more are raised for periods of their childhood by third parties such as neighbors. To balance the fundamental rights with a child’s mental and emotional ties ...
March 10, 2017Adam Hayes
In most marriages, there are good and bad times. At some junctures, most couples contemplate the “what if” of a divorce. However, while by statistics and commonly accepted social norms, divorce is just a part of life, there are many “unsaid” considerations that the statistics and societal norms do not account for. This blog explores 5 key legal and social considerations you should make before considering or filing divorce—that you may not hear from any other person but should consider. First, in almost every case, children of divorce have long-term insecurities surrounding their parents’ divorce. It may well be that the ...
January 26, 2017Adam Hayes
While most domestic cases resolve before trial, those that are tried generally involve unique legal issues, or more commonly, extremely contentious issues such as child custody, amount of parenting time or child support (the two are linked), or serious issues about valuation of assets. Indiana judges get a “hot record”, meaning they are given great deference in judging the witness’s credibility. This blog covers four ways to “torpedo” your case by being a witness that lacks credibility. The first is quite common—denying undeniable facts. For instance, in a long-term relationship that involves drug use, even “recreational” (illegal) marijuana, it is generally ...
January 11, 2017Adam Hayes
In Indiana, there are two higher courts a party may seek an appeal from any final trial court order. There is an appeal as a matter of legal right to the Indiana Court of Appeals. A party dissatisfied with a decision of the Indiana Court of Appeals may seek discretionary transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court. This blog covers the five most common types of appeals taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals from final orders in domestic cases (i.e., paternity, divorce, and modification). The first two types of cases may stem from property division or custody determination (which includes child ...
January 10, 2017Adam Hayes
The holidays are special times for most families, including those parents who have not married or have divorced: Special school events. Holiday parties. Family gatherings. All of this occurs with a lot of corresponding planning, from purchasing gifts to cooking meals. For parents who are not married, coordinating schedules can he a major source of conflict. This blog puts forth five important tips divorce attorneys use to help their clients avoid most conflict during the holidays: Know the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines: The Indiana Supreme Court has adopted the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines to set forth basics of holiday parenting time; ...
December 21, 2016Adam Hayes
The economic impact of divorce is clear: it costs more to operate two households than one. For this reason, spouses’ standards of living may well decline post-divorce. That said, aside from the relative percentages of gross weekly income for child support, which may differ significantly, there is the issue of uninsured medical expenses and extra-curricular activities. Like most families, these are beyond the regular family budget and hard to manage and pay in an intact family. Therefore, this often becomes a battle ground for divorced parents. The rules are complex, however, when looked at and analyzed closely, the rules are clear. For ...
December 1, 2016Adam Hayes
Children are literally our future. When parties divorce or in paternity actions or subsequent custody modifications, most litigants (Mothers and Fathers) make three key mistakes multiple times. Sometimes this impacts their custody objective and causes negative outcomes when they are avoidable. This blog explores these three key mistakes and how to avoid them. The first is testifying in terms of “absolutes” or without qualification. Everyone has done something they are not proud of or that is illegal or both. In the acidic nature of divorce proceedings, most litigants get asked questions about these events even if they play little or ...
November 17, 2016Adam Hayes
As we move into our economic and monetary future, we increasingly move toward an integrated international economy and lifestyle. No longer is it unusual to become employed by a domestic company, but still have a position which calls for extensive travel, or even living in another country - at least for a period of time. And so follows that many relationships will also become international in one form or another. This sometimes brings about potential complications, particularly in the area of children and child custody. The United States is a signatory country to a treaty known as The Hague Convention on ...
October 4, 2016Adam Hayes
Law, trial process, and litigation is highly evolved by rules, cases, and statutes to allow trial court judges to receive the most accurate and relevant evidence, subject to tests of veracity, to make a fair and impartial decision. Often these technical rules provide confusion to divorce and custody litigants. This blog post explores the three most common evidentiary rules for these types of matters. The first is hearsay. Other than what one party said to another party, as both are in the courtroom to testify if accurate, one party cannot say what he or she has been told by a third ...
September 20, 2016Adam Hayes
In 2006, the General Assembly enacted a new statute addressing relocation of parents in the child custody provisions of the Divorce and Paternity Act. The relocation provisions required certain notice to be given to a non-relocating parent who may object. This was interpreted by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2008 in the Baxendale case.1 In general, Baxendale, directed a trial court may consider relocation as a part of the best interests factors and modify custody to the non-relocating parent. Since this statute and the Baxendale case decision, three key mistakes or concerns every parent in a relocation case should be aware ...
June 23, 2016Adam Hayes