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
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
Earlier today, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued several Executive Orders. Executive Order 20-08 - “Directive for Hoosiers to Stay at Home” – officially ordered Indiana residents to shelter in place and remain at home if at all possible, except for several provisions that exclude certain activities. Frankly, with our schools closing their physical locations, nearly all recreational businesses shuttered, and many parents working remotely, society has been placed in an unfamiliar and extremely unique situation. This blog explores potential issues that may arise during this unprecedented period. Normalcy: The key focus that every parent should keep in mind when addressing parenting time ...
March 24, 2020CD
Divorce brings uncertainty for parents and children. Normally, at least one parent will be moving out of the marital house and/or it may be sold because without both parties’ incomes the mortgage may be unsustainable. That said, one of the most important factors in raising well-rounded children is having stability. Certainly, moving houses (and maybe schools or districts) seriously impacts stability. In this blog, we analyze the legal aspects of keeping the children in the family home at the time of divorce. Obviously, if you are the parent seeking custody and you cannot afford the marital residence and the mortgage obligation ...
March 20, 2020CD
In a small percentage of divorce and paternity cases, some children completely reject a parent and become estranged from this parent and effectively deny they are the child’s parent. Do these parents have to pay for higher education? This blog addresses the legal doctrine of a child repudiating a parent’s relationship and implications if he or she seeks contribution from the estranged parent toward college expenses. In Indiana, there is no absolute legal duty on the part of a parent to provide a contribution to a child’s college expense. However, the Divorce Act authorizes Indiana trial courts to pay sums toward ...
March 20, 2020CD
The short answer is, it depends. Indiana has established a specific statutory code for custody modification that requires the parent moving for custody modification to establish certain facts. Depending on your circumstances, your child’s wishes may be enough to modify your current custody order. In this blog, we provide a brief overview of the requirements a parent must meet to modify their current custody order and whether a child’s wishes can be enough. In order to modify your current custody order, you must establish two things. First, you must show that a modification of custody is in the child’s best interests.1 ...
March 12, 2020CD
Divorce and paternity proceedings are difficult for the parents, but even more so for children because of losing the stability of an intact family. In a small number of cases, a parent may intentionally alienate the non-custodial parent from his/her children; and in some cases, this may occur because the parent moves away and through a variety of life circumstances, lose contact with his or her children. But what happens when the “absent” parent wishes to re-engage with his/her children. This blog covers the common solution the parties can seek inside and outside of court: reunification therapy. What is reunification therapy? ...
March 11, 2020CD
Whether it be from personal experience or a movie you saw on television, most of us have some understanding of the concept of custody. However, when people think of custody, most of the time they are only thinking of physical custody. But, physical custody is just one part of child custody as a whole. Who makes decisions about school? Religion? Medical? Do these decisions have to be agreed upon? What if we cannot agree or have differing views on the subjects. These are questions that many don’t think about until a custody proceeding begins, and it can be confusing to ...
March 10, 2020CD
In today’s blended society, it is common for parents to have different religious beliefs and practices. However, if they both feel strongly about their religion and divorce, a war can erupt over how the children are raised at and after divorce. This is where the concept of legal custody comes in. On divorce or in paternity cases, the court can award joint legal custody. Legal custody covers decisions about the children’s medical care, religious upbringing, and educational training. Legal custody then has nothing to do with which parent will receive physical custody and the other parent parenting time. This blog ...
February 28, 2020CD
Courts routinely order custody evaluations in cases so a person trained with what is key in a child’s psycho-social development can investigate the case and speak with the children and make a custody recommendation to the court of what is in the child’s best interest. Some judges place great value on a custody evaluation and others do not. Nevertheless, if you receive an unfavorable custody evaluation, it is not necessarily the end of your case. These three sound approaches to address an unfavorable custody evaluation depending on your case. When it is apparent the evaluator did not consider (or have available ...
February 27, 2020CD