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 ...
The short answer to the question is, it depends. Whether it be a job opportunity, family, or a change of scenery, individuals are relocating now more than ever. Relocation has become somewhat of a norm, so much so that the Indiana Legislature actually created a statutory chapter to specifically deal with relocation and its applicability to child custody. In this blog we provide a brief overview of relocation and how it can affect custody. The first thing you need to look at is who exactly the relocation statutes apply to. According to the statute, an individual must file a notice of ...
In particularly contentious child-custody cases, a child custody evaluation may be a great investment in your case to help achieve the custody arrangement you seek. This is because, at the end of the process, the evaluator makes recommendations to the court about what custody arrangement is in the children’s best interests. There are different levels of evaluators that you should consider when requesting a custody evaluation. This blog covers the three most common types of evaluations. Perhaps the most common custody evaluation is completed by a Guardian Ad Litem1 as allowed for in the Divorce and Paternity Acts. In many cases, ...
Mediation is a beneficial tool for many who find themselves involved in child custody litigation. Not only is mediation cost-efficient relative to a trial, but it can lead to quicker resolutions. However, mediation is only as beneficial as you make it. In this blog, we provide three tips for preparing to go to mediation in a child custody proceeding. Be Open-Minded. The first tip is to remember to be open-minded going to mediation. Remember that mediation is simply a negotiation between the parties, so you must be willing to negotiate. Many litigants go into mediation with a mindset that makes him/her ...
February 19, 2020CD
Individuals who find themselves in the middle of a family law litigation understand the emotional and sometimes financial hardship that goes along with it. Whether it is a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or custody modification action, these types of cases are never easy for those involved. For this reason, and some others, some people treat family law matters as a way to “air out dirty laundry”. Such testimony is often objectionable. While there are numerous pieces of evidence that can be relevant to any particular family law matter, evidence of every little misdeed or foul word spoken by a ...
January 30, 2020CD
When custody is decided by a court, the over-arching factor guiding the judge is the best interest of the child or children. This seems obvious but is also a broad and nebulous concept that often makes for a tough decision for a judge. While there are cases where there is drug abuse or abuse of the spouse or child, and it is pretty clear and easy for a judge to decide what would be in the child’s best interest, most are not so easy. In a case where both parents are loving, caring and providing for the child, it becomes ...
December 23, 2019CD
A common question litigants have in family law cases is whether there is a way they can be reimbursed for their attorney’s fees? The answer is somewhat complicated and it depends. In most litigation in the United States, we follow the “American Rule”, which is each side pays its own attorney’s fees. However, in divorce and paternity cases in trial courts and on appeal there are ways a party may recover some or all of his or her attorney’s fees. This blog covers what you need to know about attorney fee awards in divorce and paternity cases. Perhaps the most common ...
December 18, 2019CD
It would be naive to think that it is a rare occasion that substance abuse by a parent is raised in divorce and paternity cases; it is common and must be addressed by the courts. In a divorce proceeding it is important to note that, substance abuse, covers a very broad spectrum of “drugs” and is considered in varying degrees. If you find yourself in a situation where the words “substance abuse” have been brought up in your divorce, you may find this blog helpful. It is first important to understand that when an opposing party (husband or wife or father ...
December 13, 2019CD