When a child is born out of wedlock or a divorce with children is filed, there is often dispute about who should have physical custody. Physical custody is the parent whom the court orders to have the most time with child. The other parent gets parenting time under the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (herein, “IPTGs”). At the initial determination, there is no preference for either parent. This blog sets forth five mistakes parents routinely make in child custody litigation and in subsequent modification litigation. Maternal presumption: For a significant amount of time, the maternal presumption or tender years presumption was the ...
December 3, 2020CD
When a couple divorces or establishes paternity, no party is a preferred parent. In other words, there is no presumption favoring either parent.1 Under the law, a father is just as likely to obtain physical custody as a mother—and fathers do obtain sole physical or primary custody in Indiana and throughout the United States. However, the parents and or children’s situations and circumstances change over time and a parent may seek to modify custody. This blog works through the basics of what you need to know about physical custody modification. To move to modify custody, a parent must be able to ...
November 5, 2020CD
We quite frequently receive questions and complaints from clients regarding the other parent’s misconduct towards them or interference with their parenting time. These complaints tend to be followed with the question “can I modify physical custody?” Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule that can provide a ready answer to the question. Each custody case is unique, requiring an independent legal analysis. However, in this blog, we provide a quick overview of custody modification and when a parent’s misconduct or interference may rise to the level to modify custody. It is important to note that in Indiana, child custody modification ...
October 9, 2020CD
There are several studies and statistical data compilations indicating a growing number of children in the United States are being raised by third parties. These third parties range from grandparents to relatives or sometimes just a friend of a custodial parent. This person may become a “de facto custodian” and seek physical custody. To do so, he or she must establish evidence they have had the infant or toddler and been their primary caregiver and means of financial support for at least six (6) months in cases where the child is less than three years of age.1 This blog addresses ...
September 28, 2020CD
For many couples, divorce is a long, arduous journey. Finally getting the divorce decree marks the end of the road for a broken relationship and opens the door to a world of new possibilities. That said, the actual divorce decree may still leave many legal details to be attended to or a party is placed in substantial risk in the weeks, months, and even years to come. This blog looks at five mistake that are commonly made when a divorce decree is entered—don’t let this be your case. Designation of Beneficiary Status: A designation of a beneficiary is a person named ...
September 23, 2020CD
In today’s world, busy courts have limited time to hear cases. The average case load in Indiana, that most judges manage, is in the thousands. In divorce and paternity cases, these judges have to decide child physical and legal custody, in the children’s best interests. Due to the fact many custody disputes have significant amounts of data relevant to the case and the children’s best interests, in many cases, the parties will elect to have a forensic child clinical psychologist appointed to make a custody evaluation report to the court. This single document, in many cases, eliminates the need for ...
August 28, 2020CD
For many reasons, parents of children of divorce or paternity become estranged from their child. Psychological research shows that children are the most developed and have the best adult lives when they have a solid relationship with both parents. It may be a significant out-of-state move and/or re-marriage that has caused the split or, in some cases, it may be your child has been alienated by his or her other parent. This blog covers the major types of alienation and legal remedies you may utilize to re-establish the relationship. In perhaps the most common scenario, a parent has simply drifted away ...
August 14, 2020CD
Maybe. As a general rule, the Indiana Department of Child Services has a hotline that parents and others may call1 (or must if they are a mandated reporter) to report cases where children are in danger. These reports are immediately investigated, and if need be, the children can be removed from one or both parents, followed by an emergency detention hearing. That said, there are remedies divorced parents (and those with children born out of wedlock) may follow to obtain “emergency custody” that does not involve the Indiana Department of Child Services. These legal tools that are available through divorce ...
May 13, 2020CD
In Indiana, divorced parents can1 be ordered to contribute toward their adult child’s college expenses.2 While parents have argued that this violates equal protection, because married couples are free to choose not to contribute toward their children’s college, Indiana appellate courts have rejected this argument.13 In fact, Indiana trial court judges have broad discretion to determine what is included in an educational support order.4 However, parents are not required to contribute toward their child’s graduate degree.5 That said, this blog focuses on a narrow exception when a parent is not required to contribute toward college when his or her child ...
April 21, 2020CD
In Indiana, there have been significant layoffs and job terminations due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. For non-custodial parents who pay child support, suddenly their child support payments paid through a typical income withholding order does not occur. However, just because you lose your job does not lower or terminate your child support obligation. You have to act. The same is true if you are paying child support directly through the clerk. If you do nothing, your child support will continue to be owed and come to add up to a significant arrearage. This blog discusses options for parents ...
April 6, 2020CD