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
With Governor Holcomb’s “Directive to Stay at Home” order taking effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 to slow the COVID-19 epidemic, parents with children born out of wedlock and from divorce face uncharted waters. This is because some states with stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders have prevented custody and parenting time exchanges. There is simply mass confusion. This blog covers a reasonable application of how parents in Indiana should conduct themselves in exchanging the children during the period (until April 6, 2020) of the stay-at-home Directive. The most important aspect of this Directive is that custody and parenting time ...
March 24, 2020CD
In a small percentage of divorce and paternity cases, some children completely reject a parent and become estranged from this parent and effectively deny they are the child’s parent. Do these parents have to pay for higher education? This blog addresses the legal doctrine of a child repudiating a parent’s relationship and implications if he or she seeks contribution from the estranged parent toward college expenses. In Indiana, there is no absolute legal duty on the part of a parent to provide a contribution to a child’s college expense. However, the Divorce Act authorizes Indiana trial courts to pay sums toward ...
March 20, 2020CD
Divorce and paternity proceedings are difficult for the parents, but even more so for children because of losing the stability of an intact family. In a small number of cases, a parent may intentionally alienate the non-custodial parent from his/her children; and in some cases, this may occur because the parent moves away and through a variety of life circumstances, lose contact with his or her children. But what happens when the “absent” parent wishes to re-engage with his/her children. This blog covers the common solution the parties can seek inside and outside of court: reunification therapy. What is reunification therapy? ...
March 11, 2020CD