Today, millions of children are being raised by grandparents, friends, neighbors, and sometimes, total strangers. This trend is growing each year. In this situation, these individuals acting as “parents” have no legal rights to the children they are raising, despite the fact they are providing for all aspects of their physical and emotional well-being. Practically speaking, this reality can create a multitude of problems for the caretakers, from enrolling the children in school to obtaining health care. All the while, the children are bonding with this caregiver like a biological parent. However, sometimes a parent just shows up years later ...
June 18, 2018CD
Not long ago the trend was filing for divorce mid-winter and in early spring. However, in our ever-changing mobile society, everything is different. The same appears to be true for divorce. Working from home and/or blended school calendars may be a few factors that account for shifting trends of when divorce is filed. This blog explores key reasons why filing divorce in the summer may be a prudent consideration for some couples when it was not a norm or even considered in the past. What is the right time? As a practical matter, and first, if the parties do not have children, ...
June 13, 2018CD
What Parents (And Those Around Children) Need to Know About Removal as Punishment and Its Connection to Divorce, DCS Investigations, And Criminal Charges Parents who have children heavily involved with the use of electronics have all probably observed a “meltdown” when devices are taken as a form of punishment. However, with a certain segment of children—even very young children—mainstream psychology publications began widely reporting in 2017 various psychological issues with detachment and depression with removing electronic devices from the child. Pre- and teenagers had some changes in behavior, but also took outrageous steps to seek the return of the devices on par ...
April 30, 2018CD
A significant number appeals taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals stem from paternity and divorce cases. In most cases, the appeal involves some form of disagreement regarding child custody orders issued by the trial court. This blog explores the three most common types of appeals, what you need to know to make an informed choice to appeal, and what kinds of issues are stronger for a “win” on appeal.1 The first type of appeal is the original custody determination. In paternity cases, this is generally litigation brought shortly after the birth of the child. In divorce cases, this what occurs ...
April 18, 2018CD
In child custody proceedings, Indiana trial court judges award or modify custody by considering all1 of the evidence in order to determine a custody arrangement in the child’s best interests. There are several statutory considerations for the court to weigh, including the physical and mental health of the parents, as well as any other facts or circumstances that may factor into a child’s best interests as it relates to custody.2 For years, “soft” drug use, such as smoking marijuana, has been considered in awarding or modifying custody in Indiana.3 Further, serious drug addiction/abuse issues sometimes came before trial courts and ...
March 22, 2018CD
Divorce is often the best of times and the worst of times - all at the same time. The decision to move on in life from a worn-out relationship is hard-to-impossible to make, particularly where there are children involved. The “unknowns” and “uncertainty” are what hold many people back. On the other hand, life is short and taking steps to move to a new future when a marriage cannot be repaired is at the same time, liberating to exciting for many litigants. This blog post provides three practical, common-sense tips most litigants never think of in this context, but which ...
March 13, 2018CD
In divorce or paternity cases, custody evaluations are common. They are provided for in the paternity and divorce statutes, as well as local court rules and discovery rules. A trial court judge has the inherent discretion and power to order a custody evaluation. In simple terms, a custody evaluation is nothing more than a trained professional interviewing the adults and children and reviewing materials they provide to make a written report to the trial court of what is in the children’s best interests. However, there are three things you must know to make the most of a custody evaluation. These ...
March 1, 2018CD
In many homes across America today, a grandparent (or third party) is the one raising a child or children of the biological parents. This may be for many reasons; typically, it is due to the instability of a parent, physical or mental health issues, drug use, incarceration of a parent or a pure lack of the ability and/or desire of a biological parent, well, to parent. This blog addresses what happens when a grandparent (or third party) becomes a bonded caregiver for such children and what steps they can take to keep “custody” in the child’s best interests. Over time, a ...
February 19, 2018CD
The Impact Upon Children in a High Conflict Custody Case This blog discusses the importance of trying to resolve disputes in high conflict custody cases to try to avoid emotional harm to the children. Often in high conflict cases involving child custody disputes, the single most important factor is ignored by the parties: “what is in the best interest of the child”. Many times, the conflict begins because one party, the non-custodial parent “wants” something, usually more time with the child, and the custodial parent is absolutely opposed. Both parties may have a variety of reasons for their positions. But ultimately the ...
January 17, 2018CD
Almost everyone knows someone who has been, is or will be going through a “terrible” custody battle. The best of parents—acting under the stress of a separation or divorce—experiences a range of emotions from loss to rage. In some cases, the perceptions of the parents are magnified by underlying psychological issues, substance abuse or both and lead to the truly high-conflict custody case. While there is no legal definition for a high conflict custody case, they all share some of the same hallmark behaviors and incidents while (and after the case) pending, including: claims of or actual domestic violence and/or criminal ...
January 4, 2018CD