A common statement or question from litigants relates to obtaining attorney’s fees for the expenses for their attorney in general civil litigation and divorce and paternity cases. Most of America’s laws are based on English common law. Under common law, the prevailing (or winning) party was entitled to receive an award of fees from the loser. In our society, this would be a difficult rule to apply as some cases have multiple parties and/or legal issues and a party may “win” some and “lose” some legal issues. For this and many other reasons, America rejected this legal concept and each side ...
July 12, 2018CD
Perhaps everyone who reads this blog will agree that routine and “sameness” are considered aspects of our daily life. The old adage, “change is hard”, best captures this concept. The same is true for children of divorce and paternity cases. The initial determination of which parent should have custody is “gender neutral” and gives no parent a preference for preliminary custody in the trial court’s initial determination. However, after the case is decided, where custody may change, the children usually establish a custodial routine on who they stay with and when. Any changes or disruptions to the schedule are significant for the ...
July 11, 2018CD
A significant number appeals taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals stem from paternity and divorce cases. In most cases, the appeal involves some form of disagreement regarding child custody orders issued by the trial court. This blog explores the three most common types of appeals, what you need to know to make an informed choice to appeal, and what kinds of issues are stronger for a “win” on appeal.1 The first type of appeal is the original custody determination. In paternity cases, this is generally litigation brought shortly after the birth of the child. In divorce cases, this what occurs ...
April 18, 2018CD
Divorce is often the best of times and the worst of times - all at the same time. The decision to move on in life from a worn-out relationship is hard-to-impossible to make, particularly where there are children involved. The “unknowns” and “uncertainty” are what hold many people back. On the other hand, life is short and taking steps to move to a new future when a marriage cannot be repaired is at the same time, liberating to exciting for many litigants. This blog post provides three practical, common-sense tips most litigants never think of in this context, but which ...
March 13, 2018CD
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
Law changes ever so imperceptibly every day. It has to in order to keep up with our society and afford each of us the right to achieve “life, liberty and happiness” through due process of law. The right to due process of law protects the family that is singled out for the most protection in the Constitution —there is a fundamental right of parents to raise their children as they see fit, even if other people or government believes otherwise or disagrees. This blog explores the key daily changes in domestic law and how they balance against the rights of ...
December 27, 2017CD
The angst of litigation keeps couples with children together long after they probably should have divorced or sought custody modification. In most cases, this is legally, socially, and psychologically sound. This blog explores the common situations where one spouse becomes addicted to prescription drugs, but the other tries maintaining the status quo, eventually “hurts” the parent—and often the children—who he/she is trying to protect to keep the family intact. The nightly news relays the war on codeine based drugs and the lawsuits against manufacturers. Often times spouses become addicted to these substances by virtue of an injury or surgery and not ...
November 22, 2017CD
Legal Rights and Remedies That Do Not Exist in Indiana Most seasoned divorce attorneys have had clients who have lived in different places or have friends and family divorced in other states; sometimes this brings pre-conceived notions to the table about what is possible in a divorce in Indiana. This blog addresses the most common misunderstandings of litigants in proceeding in Indiana. The first misconception is alimony. In many states, the spouse without earning power can obtain long-term alimony. It is not uncommon to hear about very large monthly (or weekly) alimony awards in states like California. This remedy is not available ...
November 20, 2017CD
Unlike in divorce cases, where children born during the marriage are presumed to be children of the Husband and Wife1, in paternity cases, paternity of the child has to be established by one of several means2. One way, in particular, DNA testing, creates a reliable basis for the alleged father to ensure paternity of the child in question. In many paternity actions, the parents were together at the time when the child was conceived, and the father may have signed the paternity affidavit at the hospital. But, in those instances where paternity is uncertain and has not been established, DNA testing ...
September 28, 2017CD
Most litigants speak of custody loosely today and take it to mean who has the children, with the other parent getting Indiana Parenting Time Guideline time with the children and paying child support. In other blogs, we have posted materials to differentiate physical custody from legal custody and parenting time. This blog focuses solely on legal custody as more and more parents have differing life views that come into sharp focus and dispute during marriage and paternity cases—and today marriage and having a child is not generally thought of in absolute terms, “till death do you part.” Or parents until our ...
June 27, 2017CD