If you are divorced, and your children plan to attend college, the divorce court can order you to contribute to college expenses after the children turn eighteen.1 If your dissolution decree does not address the division of college expenses, there is significant potential for argument and litigation over what amount each parent should pay; how the child will contribute; and what expenses will be included in an order to pay college expenses. Indiana courts have wide discretion over the amounts that each parent may be required to pay, as well as what types of expenses will be included. This blog ...
September 12, 2018CD
Sometimes a marriage may last many years, and sometimes divorces do too. Normally, if there is a mistake in the final decree, such as failure to decide an issue or misapplication of the law, the preferred remedy is filing a Motion to Correct Errors or taking an appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals within thirty days. If you do not, you may be stuck with the problem. Nevertheless, sometimes months or years later a party discovers a major problem with the decree1 or some fraud. What do you do? Well, Indiana’s laws are structured to provide due process and ...
September 6, 2018CD
Life is messy. Divorce really is messy and emotional; this plays out in the courtroom. Trial court judges often face the presentation of evidence in final hearings that is disorganized and ranges from notes and texts to emails and photos. With highly contested divorces, there may be multiple days of hearings over many months or even years. Mostly, for this reason, there are three common mistakes that occur in final decrees that make for strong appeals. This blog covers these three issues for appeal.1 The issue that arises in such a context is divorce litigation where there numerous real and personal ...
May 15, 2018CD
For the most part, the legal system is structured to allow freedom of choice in picking your attorney, much like the medical system allows you to pick your doctor. Different professionals in each field fit and fill different needs. However, sometimes there is the wrong choice of fit and, within the legal field, an attorney waives an issue at trial that is necessary for the appeal or misses the appellate deadline. This blog covers some rare appellate remedies that might apply in the right type of case. First, with criminal cases, the failure to initiate a timely appeal by filing a Notice ...
November 2, 2017CD
The number of appeals in Indiana is small compared to the overwhelming number of cases tried in Indiana’s trial courts each year. Correspondingly, there are only a few more than twenty appellate judges and senior judges who decide appellate cases. There are few attorneys who handle appears on a regular basis. On occasion, the small appellate bench and bar get to interact at professional events. At a recent gathering, the appellate judges provided wisdom about four key mistakes that they see with appellate briefing you should avoid in your brief (or insisting your attorney place in your brief). These are gems ...
October 20, 2017CD
Expert witnesses are common in criminal and civil cases. There are all types of experts, such as use of deadly force in criminal cases to custody evaluators in divorce and paternity cases. To be qualified as an expert, he or she must pass the Daubert test. This standard or test comes from a United States Supreme Court case, but is now written into an Indiana Rule of Evidence, which encompasses the proposed skills the expert must possess to qualify as an expert, said rule stating: “A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify ...
October 16, 2017CD
While most people have some general understanding of the process that occurs in a trial, appeals are far different and the entire process is not generally reflected on television or by the general experience of the public. In this blog, the four cornerstones of an appeal are identified and addressed. The more you understand about any the process, the better able you will be to aid your attorneys in helping you make the best appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals.1 The first and most important part of an appeal—and what allows the appeal itself—is “the record”. The record is generally ...
April 4, 2017Adam Hayes
Almost every final decision of an Indiana trial court can be appealed to the Indiana Court of appeals by perfecting the appeal and “briefing” the matter. Appellate attorneys often spend considerable time drafting or “framing” the issues so they bring attention to the question of law and fact at hand. The Court of Appeals central role is not to re-weigh (or second guess a trial court’s decision) on how it viewed facts. Instead, it looks at how the trial court applied the facts to the law. Thus, a good appellate issue should be combination of both. First, an appellate issue should ...
January 26, 2016Adam Hayes
The legal system is the default dispute resolution when no other person, group or institution can solve a problem or dispute. The fact a case is brought sometimes demonstrates the very point—good individuals and well-run companies have disputes they cannot move beyond and bring to an impartial judge for decision. This system is the marvel of the world, particularly since there is generally a right to appeal an adverse decision. In this case, the appellant (who generally lost some or all issues) often make the same three mistakes that deflect from the merit of the case. 1. Blame the judge or ...
December 29, 2015Adam Hayes
Indiana’s few trial court judges, magistrates, commissioners and pro tems hear and decide a staggering number of cases (tens of thousands) each year with speed and accuracy. However, approximately 4,000 are appealed to the Court of Appeals as a matter of right. In consultation with their attorneys, litigants help to decide what issues to raise on appeal. Four common mistakes with litigants in selecting issues. Every “Mistake:” The first is trying to appeal every actual or perceived mistake made a trial. No trial is “perfect.” Ultimately, if the “mistake” will not make a difference in the decision it is generally a ...
December 8, 2015Adam Hayes