Yes, in some cases. Nationally as well as in Indiana, grandparents are increasingly raising their adult children’s children. Sometimes this is just being great and helpful grandparents. In some cases, such as a parent going back to school or distant work relocation, parents must do so to better their lives, but in others, they do so for legally impermissible reasons, such as addiction issues; these parents simply leave their children with grandparents to raise. For all practical purposes, the grandparents take over the role of caregiver and provide all the support, shelter, and care and nurture of the grandchildren. In ...
January 8, 2019CD
Indiana trial court judges can consider literally anything and everything relevant to a parent-child relationship to make a child custody decision that is in the child’s best interests. Sometimes a single factor—such as a severe drug abuse or incarceration—make the decision much easier for the judge to sort through the evidence, as it is apparent that a parent who is locked up cannot be the child’s custodian. However, in most cases, both parents have good qualities and faults in parenting. This blog explores the three most important factors that influence a judge’s child custody decision, so you can develop these ...
January 3, 2019CD
In the digital age, the era of endless activities for even the youngest children that didn’t exist in easier times, given about half of all marriages end in divorce, even parents who remain together have time carving out true quality (interactive) time with their children. This blog goes back to basics to provide three simple tips that almost seem forgotten for parents to have quality time with their children. Maybe all parents have always been busy and have struggled to find a life balance where both parents worked. However, today adults and children alike are “tied” (in some cases literally addicted) ...
October 22, 2018CD
Eventually, the “litigation” dust settles for most every acrimonious divorce or paternity fight over custody and the parents remain to co-parent. No longer are there attorneys or judges in the picture. Nevertheless, there is often lingering hostility that may become exacerbated by everything—including a new romantic interest. This dynamic often makes co-parenting what courts describe as a “battleground”. While there are numerous ways to address parenting-time conflicts that take time and cost money—such as contempt’s or parenting coordinators, this blog covers three common sense, but often overlooked ways, to minimize or eliminate some co-parenting conflicts. The first and newest tool available ...
September 26, 2018CD
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
Everyone knows of a custody “battle” waged by a family member or friend--where both parents are entrenched in their positions, are convinced they are right (and maybe are), and fight tooth and nail to have the time with their children they believe is in their best interests. Or, is this your case? Most commonly, this struggle is waged through successive litigation involving contempt actions and modification petitions; trial courts retain custody jurisdiction to hear and decide these matters until the children are adults, meaning the litigation can go on for years. As an alternative—yes there are alternatives to court--this blog ...
August 30, 2018CD
Today the definition of “family” is constantly changing and has a different meaning for Millennials than Boomers and is driven by the state of our society. Grandparents are raising their grandchildren. A friend, neighbor, or coach may be raising a child that is not his or her child. Presently, many kids are in DCS’ placement with foster families. Adults, parents, and grandparents are living longer, need assistance as they get older, and may move in with their children and live together for a long time. At some point, many of these situations become a “major problem”; and those who are ...
August 20, 2018CD
Yes. But as of Monday, July 31, 2018 so can certain advocates and attorneys for your children. This comes by a sweeping decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals applying the statutory authority for this power (or standing) created by the Legislature. This blog surveys when and why DCS may seek to sever a parent-child relationship and addresses who else the Legislature empowered to do so by a new application of the law. After the Department of Child Services (DCS) brings a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) case, and the court finds a legal basis for the children being CHINS, ...
August 8, 2018CD
In many, if not most contested paternity or divorce cases, the issues that led up to the breakdown in relationship are somewhat apparent and would not require a forensic psychologist evaluation. For instance, one parent may lose his job, and this creates untenable financial stressors on the other parent, or the parent who lost the job may slump into depression. Perhaps most common in marriage today is; marriage is not a necessity as it was a few decades ago—to survive—given social programs that have created safety nets that did not exist in the past. Marriages now are viewed in years ...
August 6, 2018CD
A taboo topic that has been around for decades has been sexual activity or assault between siblings and what is a normal part of the human development process. A 2002 study by the US Department of Health and Human Services found that at least 2.3 percent of children have been sexually abused by a sibling. When this type of disclosure is made (or abuse) it is required to be reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services who must investigate by law. This blog post address some of critical legal issues parents should consider if they receive a call their ...
May 29, 2018CD