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
Probation is often a tool used by trial courts and is normally within their discretion to order in most cases. It is obviously a desirous outcome for judges, the community, and defendant. Most of the time it keeps the defendant out of jail, at home and work, and the taxpayers from paying for criminal incarceration. However, violations of the terms of probation, such as drug use determined by a positive drug screen, may result in a violation of probation (VOP) being filed by probation and the defendant’s probation revoked and he or she sent to prison for the balance of ...
February 28, 2018CD
Most Hoosiers know were a gun-friendly state. In fact, Indiana ranks among the highest for gun rights. For example, there are hundreds of thousands of residents who have a License to Carry a Handgun. With “carrying” there is significant misunderstanding of the Castle Doctrine and the right to Stand Your Ground with the right to draw your firearm. These limits are the topic of coverage in this blog. In Indiana, a person can stand his or her ground and not retreat if it is reasonable. This allows the use of force to protect person and property. However, the use of force ...
January 15, 2018CD
Several years ago, the Legislature passed an expungement statutory scheme to “expungement” or remove old felonies and other arrest and misdemeanor convictions occurring in Indiana from a person’s criminal history. Expunged crimes were basically removed from a person’s criminal history, with the exception of certain uses by law enforcement or in the case of subsequent crimes. These expungement statutes recognized people change over a long period of time. However, many remained “haunted” and limited in their daily life by an old criminal history. This is despite the fact that they had been model and productive citizens afterward. Most of us are ...
January 9, 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
In Indiana, there are thousands of DCS’ investigations each year. Many result in filing a petition to open a CHINS’ action against the parents. In the initial investigation from the DCS to and through the hearing, if a CHINS petition is filed, parents have the constitutional right to counsel. The question this blog post focuses on is, “Should parents have private counsel?” The answer is “probably.” There are four key reasons parents should seriously consider counsel. First, a CHINS’ proceeding involves complex orders and services the parents must follow. The purpose of these services is typically reunification with a parent or ...
December 19, 2017CD
For the last several years, “Black Friday” gun sales have hit all-time highs, according to statistics from the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (“NICS”) checks. This means licensed retailers are selling a lot of firearms. Well, this year was no different. The trend continued and the FBI hit an all-time high record of 203,000 NICS checks. Anecdotally, this must mean that a part of Santa’s Holiday gift list in Indiana is purchasing and giving a gun as a gift. But, is this lawful? What are the other legal issues surrounding giving guns as gifts? This is the focus of ...
December 15, 2017CD
We all make New Year’s wishes, right? For thousands of Hoosiers, their wish is to have a clean criminal record without an old misdemeanor or felony conviction holding them back from job opportunities or having a firearm and license to carry. In the last several years, the Legislature has added several laws to allow you new ways to “remove” old convictions. This blog explores these and the legal remedies now available to you. The oldest legal tool for addressing a past criminal conviction is post-conviction relief. This has been around for a long time, and in the right circumstance, may be used ...
December 12, 2017CD
In today’s digital world with global work and play, people from different cultures, backgrounds, and ages marry. In many cases, there are significant differences in net worth, age, and business ownership. For this reason, some couples choose to enter into pre-marital agreements under Indiana’s Uniform Pre-Marital Act. A prenuptial is a document or series of documents, that specifies what a divorce court is to do in divorcing the parties in a divorce filing when separating their assets and liabilities. This blog addresses legal issues you should understand if you contemplate entering into a pre-marital agreement. The first and most important concept to ...
December 8, 2017CD
Raising Someone Else’s Children A word that has almost vanished from common conversations is the term “nuclear” family. This conjured up the notion of a mother, father, two children (a boy and a girl), family dog, and the proverbial white fence. Now children are routinely shared between same-sex parents, divorced parents or have a single parent. However, there are tens of thousands of children being raised by neighbors, other family members, or a trusted friend of parents. Sometimes the children are abandoned, not supported or contacted by the parent or parents again. This creates problems with school enrollment to medical care. The ...
December 1, 2017CD