Indiana trial court judges are charged with the difficult task of making child custody decisions in the children’s best interests. This is daunting in contested divorce cases as the actual parents cannot agree to what is best for their own children. To assist them, judges on their own or with request of an attorney, appoint trained individuals ranging from trained attorneys to clinical psychologists to make custody and parenting recommendations. Sometimes the results are unexpected and unfavorable for a parent. This is not the end or the decision of the court. Courts are not bound by custody recommendations and may reject them. ...
February 3, 2016Adam Hayes
Any legal area that has strong political and social positions, generally corresponds with substantial law-making. Gun purchase, possession and use is one such topic that is politically charged with “positions.” While most of the laws are on-line, there is a great amount of commentary about how the law should be applied and enforced. In the firearms arms arena, there are four key myths that appear to be a great confusion for a large number of gun owners. This blog addresses these. The first is a lawfully possessed firearm can be used to scare someone away by pointing it at the wrong-doer. ...
January 19, 2016Adam Hayes
In our mobile society, people relocate for work or move much more frequently than in the past. When new to the State, sometimes it coincides or hastens a rock marriage to divorce. This often presents us with questions about what it takes to file for divorce. There are four major requirements or considerations. The first is that one of the parties lives in the State for at least six months and the county for three months. Where this is not the case, a divorce filing is unavailable to that party, at least until the time passes for this connection to Indiana. ...
January 12, 2016Adam Hayes
There is an old adage which states that “justice delayed is justice denied.” Over the years, the Indiana’s primary appellate court, the Indiana Court of Appeals (and the Indiana General Assembly), has been taking measures to speed up the appellate process. For instance, by appellate rule, appeals involving child-related matters, extensions of time are granted for filing briefs only in extraordinary circumstances. Two recent developments promise to expedite appeals a great deal more and ensure that if error is made by a trial court (the few in Indiana hear and decided tens of thousands of cases each year), it is rapidly ...
December 30, 2015Adam Hayes
As a general rule, each side pays their own legal fees under the American system of law. In divorce, paternity, and post-divorce litigation there are unique provisions not found in other civil law whereby attorneys fees may be awarded. They are not common, but the subject of this blog post. The first and newly decided way attorneys fees may be awarded is through divorce cases that are settled by domestic arbitration. In an October 2016 case, the Indiana Supreme Court decided that under the Family Law Arbitration Act a family law arbitration has broad discretion to award attorneys fees in deciding ...
December 23, 2015Adam Hayes
While it is common, after a hearing, for a trial court who finds the legal basis for a protective order to issue or to Brady-Disqualify a person from possessing firearms (or ammunition under federal law), a new case has limited Brady-Disqualification under the Act. In a new case, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined that the reference “Brady disqualified” provision in the protection Act, refers to a protective order that “restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner.” Those in this class may be Brady disqualified. This case made clear that individuals who ...
December 22, 2015Adam Hayes
In child custody ligation, where one parent is seeking primary physical or legal custody over the parent, the “why” the trial court ruled as it did is often important to the parties to help better understand and accept the decision. This rationale is set out in cases with special findings. This is also considered by Indiana’s appellate courts on appeal, if either party requested the trial court to make special findings. The concept is pretty straight forward. A general judgment allows a trial court to judge the credibility of the witnesses and documentary evidence by all of the verbal and non-verbal ...
December 16, 2015Adam Hayes
Many divorce lawyers receive requests for guidance from their clients on “changing venue.” In Indiana, this is not common and is generally associated with moving the case from one county to another. This occurs in rare occasions in criminal cases in order to ensure an impartial jury. In a limited number of cases, first, the case may be filed in the wrong county by mistake or the parties move from the county during the divorce. Where these facts exist, it may be possible to move the case to a different county under the trial rules and/or agreement of the parties. Second, ...
December 9, 2015Adam Hayes
Our society is more mobile than ever, working from home to teleconferencing across the globe. This makes relocation by a custodial parent more likely now than at any time in the past. There are three keys that a custodial parents must establish in order to be allowed to relocate with the children. First, and perhaps most important, is that the relocation is made in good faith and for a legitimate reason. A job transfer, layoff, and work-related reasons are the most common and likely to be successful. What this means is the relocation’s central reason must be for the benefit and ...
December 2, 2015Adam Hayes
The issue of and statistics about domestic violence have received significant state and national attention over the last several years. Actual or threatened domestic violence may result in criminal charges with the right to remain silent or a civil domestic protective order. A civil domestic protective order is issued to attempt to stop threats or risk of harm to the person who petitions for it. Such an order may be granted without a hearing or after a hearing is set and the alleged perpetrator is given notice to attend. When a civil protective order is issued without a hearing based on ...
November 19, 2015Adam Hayes