Merrillville, Indiana Legal Blog

Certain questions should be asked before getting a divorce

Marriage is not always easy. It takes work to forge a successful union and, unfortunately, it does not always work out. Before Indianans make the decision to end a marriage, however, it is important to consider what the problems are, whether every option has been exhausted and divorce is the best choice. When thinking about a divorce - even if the final decision has not been made - it is always wise to contact a qualified legal professional to understand the entire divorce process. This can be a critical factor and will help in determining what to do next.

Couples should think about strategies to avoid a divorce. Difficult times are unavoidable in any marriage, but it is wise to make sure the decision is ironclad and there is no way to save the marriage. Money might not be foremost at such an emotional time, but it should be considered in the context of how much it will cost. Getting a divorce is not a simple process. There are complexities involved and it is always sound to have advice from those who know the ins-and-outs. There are certain goals that people will have at every aspect of their lives. Divorce is no different. If these goals can be achieved via divorce and they cannot be achieved by staying in the unhappy marriage, perhaps divorce is a preferable way to go.

Prepare for unexpected issues in a divorce

Sometimes an Indiana couple has reached the point in their relationship that they can no longer stay married. When this happens, they will frequently want to get the divorce process over with as quickly as they can. It can be beneficial to move on and start a new life, but during the emotional upheaval of a divorce, it is easy to forget certain factors that can be problematic in its immediate aftermath. Being fully prepared takes careful thought, patience and legal advice.

In a divorce, there are issues that arise even if the couple is parting amicably. When the divorce is contentious, it is obviously more complicated. Factors that can also have an impact are children, a business, significant property and assets. People who address these concerns in the divorce are often stunned when they are still confronted with challenges. Federal income taxes can be higher than they were during the marriage. Filing as an individual reduces the benefits and deductions available and can be costlier. Spousal support will not come cheap. If it was a long marriage and the receiving former spouse was a homemaker, it should be expected that support must be paid. Still, the combination of supporting oneself and paying for living expenses while paying support to another person is expensive.

Signing a legal agreement with your spouse after marriage

Like many other Indiana couples, you did not see the benefit of a prenuptial agreement before you walked down the aisle. Perhaps you did not think this was necessary because you were not wealthy or you did not have significantly valuable assets to protect. However, things may have changed over time, and now you are wondering what legal protections may be available to you.

Fortunately, there are legal options. Through a postnuptial agreement, you may be able get similar protections that you would get if you drafted a prenuptial agreement before marriage. Like any other legal contract or marital agreement, the terms of this agreement are important, and there is significant benefit in working with a legal ally when drafting one.

How to retain the house in property division after a divorce

When it comes to property division in an Indiana divorce, there are often disagreements as to how certain items should be split. Oftentimes, one of the most valuable items in a marriage is the marital home. In a best-case scenario, the couple will be amicable and can negotiate a settlement. In other cases, there is acrimony and endless disputes. Regardless of the situation, when it comes to the marital home and property division, it is important for the parties to understand their options.

There are many reasons for one spouse or the other to want to keep the marital home. It might be due to financial considerations. There could be sentimental reasons attached to it. Or if the spouses have children, the children might never have lived anywhere but the marital home and the custodial parent might want them to stay there. Having strategies to keep the marital home is vital.

When getting a divorce, what must be in the petition?

An Indiana divorce can be stressful emotionally, personally and financially. As the decision to end a marriage is made and people are in the middle of preparing for an uncertain future, it is easy to forget about the basics for a legal petition to dissolve a marriage. For those who are getting divorced and there is no chance of saving the marriage, filing the case as it is required by law is one of the key factors in a rapid and efficient resolution.

Knowing the requirements for a divorce petition might seem inordinately basic, but failure to follow this law is a key reason why proceedings are delayed and problems arise. Per Indiana law, the dissolution of marriage must be verified. It must set forth the following information: where the parties resided and how long they lived in that state and county; the date in which the marriage took place; and the date in which the parties separated.

Put your child's interests first when divorcing in Indiana

Divorce is hard for all Indiana residents, but when there are children involved, the parents and others invested in the child's care and well-being cannot be distracted from the primary focus: the well-being of the child. Divorce issues will be complex and can cause seemingly endless disputes. That is true for property division and spousal support. When child custody is an issue, it can make an already fractured relationship worse. Having legal advice to address child custody and visitation issues is one of the most important decisions that both parents can make.

There are many factors that go into determining child custody. Some of these factors include which parent can provide the more nurturing environment, what the living arrangements are, if the disruption to the child's routine will be limited, if there are other relatives in the house or area that can make the transition easier and more. Once the child custody determination is made, there will be the key matter of visitation rights for the other parent. Provided there are no ancillary issues such as abuse, it is imperative that the child and the noncustodial parent have a strong relationship and that is not undercut by lingering animosity the parents might have. Even in amicable divorces, it is wise to think about the child's interests and protection.

What will your divorce mean for your golden years?

You probably have ideas for what you hope to do with your retirement years. No matter how old you are or how soon you hope to retire, a divorce can affect your plans for your golden years. If you are facing the end of your marriage, it's smart to make decisions that will allow you to have a strong and stable future. 

As you know, divorce requires the division of marital property. Marital property includes everything that you and your spouse bought, earned or accumulated over the course of your marriage. This includes various types of retirement accounts. You may have serious concerns about what this will mean for your long-term security, but there are steps you can take now to secure your future interests.

Are written agreements possible in an Indiana divorce?

While the concept of ending a marriage in Indiana is generally viewed as one in which there are constant disputes over a wide range of issues, it does not necessarily need to be that way in every case. Adversarial divorces can be complex. Sometimes it is unavoidable that there will be rancor and disagreements over children, support and property division in a divorce. But some couples can look beyond the factors that sparked the plan to end the marriage and simply part ways without arguing. It might even be amicable.

For these couples, it is important to know how written agreements can be beneficial in saving time, money and might reduce the emotional impact of a divorce. The law seeks an amicable resolution whenever possible. With that, the parties can have a written agreement about the following aspects of a divorce: maintenance that will be paid by one party to the other; how property will be disposed of and who owns what; and child custody and support.

Key points about alimony after an Indiana divorce

When an Indiana couple decides to end their marriage and part ways, it is rarely a simple matter of signing a few papers and no longer needing to have any connection to one another. Many might think these circumstances in which the couple still must have some level of contact are limited to when they have children, but paying alimony - also known as spousal support - is often ordered.

The supporting former spouse and the receiving former spouse must be aware of certain facts about spousal support like when it is warranted, when it can be rehabilitative, and when it can be modified or ended completely. As with any family law issue, legal help is imperative. With specific circumstances, the court can award spousal support if: a spouse has been found to be mentally incapacitated and with the incapacitation they cannot support themselves; or the spouse does not have the property to be able to provide for his or her own needs and has custody of a child who has a physical or mental incapacity that requires the parent to stay home to provide care.

What are relevant factors for child support after a divorce?

Indiana couples who have moved forward with a divorce and have children must consider how the child will be cared for after the process is completed. Child support is a commonly contentious issue with the custodial parent wanting a certain amount to be paid and the supporting parent thinking about a lesser amount. These disputes do not mean the parents are not interested in the child's well-being. It simply relates to disagreements as to the monthly payments. Understanding what the law says about relevant factors is imperative for both parents and for the child.

When there is a divorce, a legal separation, a child support dispute or when paternity is established, the court can order that the parents pay for reasonable support of the child. This is independent of allegations of marital misconduct. The relevant factors in the case will include: what the custodial parent's financial resources are; the child's standard of living if the marriage did not end, if there was not a separation or if in a paternity case, the parents were married and stayed married; what the child's physical and mental condition is and how the educational needs will be served; and what the noncustodial parent's financial resources are.

  • 10 Best 2016 | Client Satisfaction | American Institute Of Family Law Attorneys
  • BBB Accredited Business | A+ Rating
  • Avvo Client's choice 2017 | Family Law
  • Lake County Bar Association
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • The National Trial Lawyers