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
Most divorces, even highly contentious ones settle outside the court. Today’s trial court judges do a great deal of case management, such as guiding the parties to mediation, appointment of GAL, and custody evaluations. These steps result in most cases settling on the parties terms. The trial court judge must of course approve any agreement, and will not approve one that is not in your children’s best interests, but typically those issues do not arise. Only a small portion of cases actually have a contested trial on property issues or child custody. As such, there is not much general awareness of ...
July 8, 2015Adam Hayes
The first thought of a divorce is a hard one for most people. All thoughts rapidly turn to “what if” based on uncertainty. However, most everyone has a friend, associate or ex-spouse that provides some foundation for information getting the basic divorce “to do” list complete: who will get the kids and on what schedule, which car do I want, who will be “his” or “her” friends after the legal matter is a distant memory. However, with a marriage of any duration, there are many complex considerations associated with untangling any complex “business” transaction. Today, three common, but often forgotten or ...
April 2, 2015Adam Hayes
Disputes over child custody, parenting time or visitation are often referred to third party professionals to investigation the matter fully and make a recommendation to the court.1 This process often leads to settlement and more streamlined trials. However, a court, who must use its discretion and make a child custody determination is not bound by an evaluator’s recommendations, but is likely to follow them. Custody cases usually involve a great-deal of emotion and “he-said, she-said.” For this reason, the key point of the evaluator—making a best interests recommendation to the court--is difficult and time consuming. Evaluators are not perfect and there ...
February 24, 2015CD
The term “Legal Custody” is frequently misunderstood; it means which parent (or both) will make the major life decisions for the children, such as on matters of health, education, welfare, and religion.1 Divorcing parents one of whom has strong Catholic beliefs and the other a devout Christian are sometimes apt to put the children in a tug-of-war as to their beliefs. For such reasons, trial courts have the ability and duty to look out for the best interests of the children and may award legal custody in several ways. Where parents get along on these types of legal issues, the trial ...
February 3, 2015CD
Many legal cases, including domestic cases, come to a settlement/agreement between the parties prior to a final hearing. One way to reach a settlement is through mediation, where a neutral third party facilitates negotiation and agreement between the parties1. To help encourage the best setting for mediation to hopefully get a case settled and an agreement reached, it is best to be prepared. The following list includes three (3) key items to assist with working toward a successful mediation. Background information: Mediation is a settlement negotiation. It is helpful for the mediator to have some background of the case to understand how the ...
January 15, 2015CD
In a domestic law matter, often, child support is one of the main issues that parties disagree about. Who will pay? How much credit will be given? In Indiana, child support is based on a formula, and once the required numbers and information are placed into the worksheet, the total for child support is calculated and determined1. The Child Support Rules and Guidelines provide for a division of many of the expenses. For example, the health insurance premium for the minor children only is a factor in determining child support. Whichever party is paying the health insurance premium (or if the ...
January 8, 2015CD
Dissolution matters often involve issues of both child custody and support and property division, including the division of assets and debts. The information gathering phase of dissolution can be lengthy to accurately determine the numbers, accounts, schedules, etc. of the parties to appropriately determine custody, support, and division of assets and liabilities. Delay can further occur in the dissolution process if allegations are made by one or both parties, or even a third party. For example, during the course of a dissolution proceeding, perhaps one party files a protective order against the other party-which may or may not include the children. ...
November 27, 2014CD
As the end of summer nears and schools are beginning to prepare for a new year, the question of costs associated with education is often one on the minds of parents. Who will pay for back to school clothes, field trips, and book fees? The answer depends. The Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines provide guidance as to some of these fees1. For example, clothing, book fees, and supplies are considered controlled expenses. These expenses are costs that are incurred on behalf of the child, that are not shared or duplicated. The custodial parent (or parent who is designated as the ...
November 4, 2014CD
There are a variety of cases involving child custody matters, including third party custody, de facto custodian custody, guardianships (and termination of guardianship), divorce, post divorce modification, relocation of a parent, and paternity. In fact, many of these types of cases can overlap and include more than one type. For example a post divorce decree custody modification can be as a result of the custodial parent relocating. In many cases where custody, or even parenting time, is contested, the court and attorneys may utilize one of several types of evaluations to help provide the court with insight into the matter. The ...
October 21, 2014CD