What is Third-Party Custody and How You Can Obtain Custody of Children You Are Raising?1 A commonly shared belief in our society is that children are often best off in the care and custody of their biological parents. The Supreme Court has stated that one of the oldest fundamental rights in the United States is a parent’s right to the “care, custody, and control of their children.”2 While this right is fundamental, like most everything in life, it is not absolute. The reality today is millions of children are being raised by grandparents, friends, neighbors, and strangers. This creates situations in ...
December 4, 2018CD
Marriages fail for many reasons. There are no longer fault-based divorces in America. This means that a spouse no longer has to prove “fault” such as adultery—an affair--to obtain a divorce. This is a different legal concept than “waste”—when a spouse uses assets and monies to support illicit or illegal acts that reduce the amount the trial court has to divide in a divorce. The presumption is an equal division on divorce. This blog post introduces the complex legal analysis that may ensue with marital waste. However, many illicit and illegal acts, such as gambling, may explain why a spouse has ...
November 6, 2017CD
Because every divorce case with children is a little to a lot different from every other case, Indiana’s voters, appellate court’s and General Assembly give domestic trial court judges wide latitude (called “discretion”) to make child custody decisions. Indiana’s judges often agonize over the unfortunate situations they see, hear and must decide. To help judges, there are four key legal presumptions or assumptions trial court judges follow that are important for you to know if you are involved, or will be involved, in a child custody dispute. The first—and by far the most important presumption or legal policy: every child custody ...
January 14, 2016Adam Hayes
In each state, in Indiana and across the nation, there has been an acute focus over the last several years on Father’s rights to custody of their children. Law is slow to change and remnants of the “tender years presumption” continued pushing father’s rights groups harder. The tender years presumption is a older legal policy that children of a young or tender year should be in the care and custody of their mother in a divorce. There are five key aspects of father’s rights, namely a father obtaining custody of his children in a divorce or paternity case, set into the ...
October 1, 2015Adam Hayes
Traditionally, Grandparents had no special common law right to visitation with their grandchildren. However, in the past few decades, many states have enacted legislation which allows grandparents to seek a court order for visitation with their grandchildren. The Indiana legislature enacted Indiana Code § 31-17-5 allowing for grandparents to seek visitation, in certain limited circumstances, including if one of the child’s parents is deceased, the parents are divorced, or the child was born out of wedlock, also known as the Grandparent Visitation Act (GVA).1 Following the enactment of the GVA, and other similar statutes in other states, there was some confusion ...
March 19, 2013CD
In Indiana, there are 3 competing theories to obtaining custody of a minor child. The three ways to obtain custody are: first, the natural parent presumption (lawful adoptions will fall in line with this custody theory as well); second, guardianships; and third, de facto custodians. There is a statutory presumption, meaning that unless other evidence is presented to the contrary, a fact is presumed in the eyes of the law, that a natural parent (a biological parent) has the right to raise his or her child. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that not only is there a presumption the ...
December 11, 2012CD