Like everyone and everything in life, the judicial system isn’t perfect. As such, sometimes trial courts get it wrong. If you or someone you know just received a child custody determination that you believe was wrongly decided, you have the ability to seek relief via an appeal. How is this done? How long does it take? In this blog, we look at the general process for appealing a custody order in Indiana. The first thing to consider in the appeal process is the timing of initiating the appeal. Generally speaking, once you receive a final custody order, whether it be an ...
June 17, 2020CD
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
In a civil trial with many issues, such as divorce which may have child support, custody, and property issues decided, a losing party may want to challenge every issue, such as a minimal difference or error in weekly child support to be paid. While there is no express appellate rule prohibiting or limiting the number of issues a party may raise on appeal, raising more than three or four issues on appeal is normally not prudent. This blog explores why limiting the number of issues raised on appeal is practical and prudent. As a threshold matter, a party that raises numerous ...
May 29, 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
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
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
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