Very few civil cases are decided by a jury in Indiana. Therefore most final orders (the ruling that decides the case) are issued following a trial before a judge (bench trial). In most cases, someone wins (prevails) and someone loses. As a general rule, after a final order is issued a party has 30 days to appeal. In Indiana, there is a right to one appeal. Almost all of these go to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which is comprised of 15 judges located in Indianapolis. They decide cases in three judge panels. This means three randomly assigned judges in this ...
October 6, 2015Adam Hayes
In each state, in Indiana and across the nation, there has been an acute focus over the last several years on Father’s rights to custody of their children. Law is slow to change and remnants of the “tender years presumption” continued pushing father’s rights groups harder. The tender years presumption is a older legal policy that children of a young or tender year should be in the care and custody of their mother in a divorce. There are five key aspects of father’s rights, namely a father obtaining custody of his children in a divorce or paternity case, set into the ...
October 1, 2015Adam Hayes
Small business is the engine that drives America. Often times divorce attorneys face a scenario where parties are divorcing and the means of income that has provided for the family is the small business. An example would be a doctor, lawyer, or landscaper. The obvious assumption most of us would make is that this would continue to be the source to maintain the parties (and their children) after the divorce. However, sometimes this is not the case. There are three key points to consider if you have a family business and are contemplating divorce. First, a business entity (except a sole ...
September 30, 2015Adam Hayes
In 2006, the General Assembly adopted a comprehensive set of statutes to be followed in the event either party in a divorce or post-divorce proceeding moved. This requires either parent (custodial or the one who has parenting time) to notify the other they are moving and allows objection to the move. The obvious focus is to allow a court to determine how this impacts the children’s best interests. This new statutory scheme ultimately raised a number of legal questions that were addressed by Indiana’s courts. The first is whether and how a relocation by a parent impacts child custody modification. The ...
September 23, 2015Adam Hayes
Trials are dynamic events and no two are the same, even on the same or similar issues between the same parties. To have a fair and accurate trial free of most types of evidence that can misdirect a court, there are four key rules of evidence parties and witnesses struggle to follow as sometimes they seem counter-intuitive. These are addressed in this blog post to help you put your best foot forward at trial. The first is hearsay. Unless the matter is what one “party” (not other witness) has said to the other, statements or testimony about what someone else said ...
September 9, 2015Adam Hayes
Trial is a nerve-racking experience for litigants, many have not been in the courtroom before. Indiana’s judges and lawyers want you to have your day in court and the case decided by a neutral fact finder. However, with the pressures of property and children in the balance, litigants do all sorts of little things that can help or hurt their case, sometimes in profound ways. Here are some recent observations. Things that can hurt your case: Having your cell phone ring during court. Trying to answer the question the right way, not the way it is presented. Arguing with the attorney or objecting to ...
August 6, 2015Adam Hayes
With divorce statistics indicating one in two marriages ends in divorce, many people—from those who have heard divorce horror stories to those who have had their own divorces—sometimes contract for terms to divide their estate (assets – liabilities = net marital estate) in the event of a divorce. There are three ways to do so, all with risks and specific requirements. The most obvious and well known is the pre-marital agreement. This is made in contemplation of divorce and has existed in Indiana as a matter of contract law for decades. In 1995, this was reinforced by the Uniform Premarital Agreement ...
August 5, 2015Adam Hayes
The Indiana Civil Order Protection Act focuses on rapid intervention where domestic violence occurs and/or stalking and/or certain sex offenses. This allows a trial court to review a petition alleging such offenses and issue an ex parte order (without a hearing based on the petition). As a general constitutional principle, due process requires a hearing with all parties present before a court issues an order such as this. To protect victims, and minimize abuse of the process, the policy of the “Indiana Civil Protection Order Act…aims to provide prompt resolutions to protective order petitions.” Thus when these are granted on an ...
July 16, 2015Adam Hayes
While real life domestic litigation is gritty and full of harsh realities of relationships and what happens when they end, there are three important legal lessons Indiana divorce or domestic litigants can take from the new movie or sequel “Ted.” First, everything that is not a child, even a family heirloom, beloved toy or pet is property. There is not custody or visitation rights to items. Indiana trial courts are bound to divide it and divide all property in a just and reasonable way. Second, court is serious. This is the time to prepare for your case with your attorney and tell ...
July 7, 2015Adam Hayes
The United States Supreme Court’s decision to allow same sex couples to marry may be just the beginning of the legal impact of recognition of a fundamental right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. There is a push for further protection of the LGBT community to add sexual orientation and gender identity to civil rights laws to protect them against discrimination. The United States Supreme Court in the Obergefell case held the Fourteenth Amendment requires that same sex couples have the right to marry and have their marriage recognized by all states. This right has already had an impact on ...
July 2, 2015Adam Hayes