Merrillville, Indiana Legal Blog

Important points about an Indiana divorce decree

Indianans who have made the decision to divorce will have many questions and concerns about the process. While these issues will often be related to support, property division and custody of children, it is also important to remember how the process will go as the case nears its conclusion. Because the divorce decree will be final and making changes or disputing factors after the dissolution is completed can be difficult, this is an under-the-radar consideration that should be assessed from the start. Knowing how the law handles the final hearing and the decree is imperative to a case.

In a final hearing with a divorce, the court will take evidence into consideration. That will include any agreement the parties have come to or pleadings with the court. If the court decides that material allegations in the divorce petition are accurate, it will enter an order for dissolution or it can order that the parties seek reconciliation. The reconciliation attempt will be ordered if the court decides that there is a reasonable chance of it succeeding. If such an order is made, the case will be continued so the parties can have counseling and seek to save the marriage.

Is parallel parenting an option in my child custody case?

Child custody and crafting a parenting plan that satisfies all parties and adheres to the child's best interests in Indiana can be difficult. There are often alternatives that are used to satisfy the situation in as seamless a manner as possible. While most cases will have a custodial parent and a noncustodial parent with visitation time granted to the noncustodial parent, one option that could be effective in certain cases is parallel parenting.

When considering parallel parenting, it is vital to understand how it works and its impact on the parents and child. Having legal advice is always key. With parallel parenting, the plan deviates from the general guidelines used for parenting time. It should be used only in cases where the court concludes that it is a high conflict situation between the parents and the parallel parenting plan is likely to keep the couple from endless dispute and serve the best interests of the child.

When is a prenuptial agreement the right course of action?

Getting ready to walk down the aisle is an exciting time, but as you plan for your wedding, you may also want to take steps to protect your long-term interests as well. During this time of preparation, you may want to consider the benefits of drafting a prenuptial agreement. This is a smart way for you to lower your risk of legal complications in the future.

Through a prenuptial agreement, you can outline how certain things will work in the event of a divorce. It may seem counterintuitive to plan for the end of a marriage before you even marry, but this can be a smart step for many reasons. Taking precautions now can help you avoid problems down the road. Prenuptial agreements can be useful legal protections for Indiana couples of all ages and income levels.

Advice about social media during a divorce

For most people in Indiana and around the world, social media is an everyday part of their lives. This can be due to business needs, to keep up with family and friends, to check for news, or just to get a break from work or other requirements. When people are getting a divorce, it can even be perceived as a source of advice and comfort in seeking help from those who have gone through it themselves or as a sounding board. However, as with any relatively new aspect of life, it can be difficult to assess the damage that can be done with social media as part of a divorce proceeding. Having legal advice is imperative to understand dos and don'ts with social media.

People might make the mistake of venting on one of their social media platforms. This can be about the marriage, its breakdown, how the other spouse is behaving, what is happening with child custody and more. This, however, could be used in a negative way by the other spouse during the court proceeding to try and prove that the person is not being agreeable and does not want to settle the case amicably.

What are the different kinds of custody?

If you are a parent beginning the divorce process, it may only be a matter of time before you and your spouse discuss child custody. To be prepared for this conversation, it may be helpful to understand the different types of child custody that are possible.

Physical and legal custody

What factors can show equal property division is unfair?

Divorce is difficult for any Indiana couple. There are many considerations that must be weighed when ending a marriage. Property division can be a source of significant dispute regardless of the couple's financial situation. Those who are well-off and people who are of lesser means can disagree about who is entitled to various properties. There are laws in place that dictate how property is split during a divorce. In general, the courts will seek equal division of marital property.

It is not automatic that the courts will agree to the concept of equal division. There are circumstances in which that will be considered unfair and this can result in the court deciding not to divide the property equally. The presumption of equal property distribution is rebuttable. Understanding the law is key when seeking to rebut it and having legal advice is similarly important. There are several factors that impact whether the court decides that equal division of marital property is unjust.

What findings can the court make with child and spousal support?

A frequently contentious issue in Indiana family law is support (also referred to as maintenance). This can include child and spousal support. Regarding spousal support, generally when a marriage ends, one spouse will be ordered to pay support to the other. This can be for a certain time-period or it can be indefinite. If there were children from the marriage, a custodial parent will often receive child support payments from the noncustodial parent. If the court makes the determination as to how much will be paid and other factors, there are certain findings that it can make. Understanding these potential findings is imperative for both parties.

When a spouse has been found to be mentally or physically incapacitated to the degree that they are unable to self-support, the court can find that maintenance will be needed during that time. If it is found that a spouse does not have enough property - including marital property that has been granted as part of the case; and that spouse has custody of a child with a mental or physical incapacity that makes it necessary for the person to refrain from gaining employment, the court can find that maintenance will be needed for a duration and in an amount that the court deems appropriate.

How does equal custody impact child and spousal support?

For Indiana parents, there are many considerations that are part of child and spousal support. With child support, there might be some level of confusion as to how ancillary aspects of the case can affect how much is to be paid and by whom. One concern is if there is an equal sharing of parenting time. Understanding how this is handled is an important aspect of a case. As with any other issue related to family law in the state, having legal advice is imperative.

When the child stays with each parent overnight for between 181 and 183 nights per year, parenting time will be viewed as equally shared. With child support, one of the parents will be named as the one controlling expenses. In such a circumstance, the other parent will be given parenting time credit. The parent who is deemed as the one controlling the expenses will be the obligor with child support.

Understanding child custody and scheduled changes to visitation

It is understandable when there is a child custody and visitation agreement between Indiana parents who have divorced and circumstances arise where changes need to be made. For those whose relationship is cordial or even friendly, this is rarely a problem. For others, however, when there was a contentious child custody battle and the parenting time is constantly in dispute, it is important to fall back onto how the law addresses these matters. A law firm that has experience in all aspects of family law can help.

Parents will generally realize that there will be times when a visitation schedule must be altered. When discussing this, flexibility is a sound way to avoid rancor. Using their judgment and thinking about the child's best interests is beneficial in these instances. Still, it is wise to consider the alternatives in these cases. In some cases, the scheduled visitation will stay as planned.

Child and spousal support ends under certain circumstances

When an Indiana couple has ended a relationship and a parent is required to pay child support, there are many questions. One is when the child support will end. Although parents are generally willing to pay to support their child, there is no doubt that it can lead to financial difficulty for some. On the flip side, the receiving parent and child could come to rely on those payments. Child and spousal support can be complex and it is important to understand the law for when child support is terminated.

Support for a child will conclude when the child reaches the age of 19. Not included in this law is if the child needs support for education. Exceptions include if the child has become emancipated prior to turning 19. If that occurs, the child support will end when the emancipation is done except when the child needs support for education. It will also continue if the child is incapacitated. In these cases, it will continue until there is a court order ending it.

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