Merrillville, Indiana Legal Blog

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.

Legal help is key to fair property division in Indiana

While property division might not be as important as other issues in a divorce such as child custody and support, it is still a major part of the case and should be given significant attention. People who have decided that their marriage is no longer viable and cannot be saved will inevitably move forward with a divorce. As they prepare for the future, they will want to be on solid ground with the items from the marriage and prior to the marriage they are entitled to.

In some cases, the splitting of the property is relatively amicable and easy and the parties can negotiate, decide and move on. In others, however, there is endless dispute. In any situation, legal advice is a must. Property that was accrued while the couple was married will be divided equitably. This applies to anything except that which was inherited or gifted to one of the spouses by another party. It is important to maintain focus on the word "equitable." This is vital as it requires that there be a fair distribution of the property and fair does not always mean equal.

How long will I have to wait until my divorce is final?

Although each divorce proceeding is as unique as the people involved, the divorce process in Indiana follows a common timeline.

The first step in getting a divorce is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Because Indiana is a “no fault” state, the cause can be a generic claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Child and spousal support and modifications in Indiana

When there is an order of child support in Indiana, it is made with the best interests of the child in mind. With spousal support, it is for the spouse who was not the breadwinner in the relationship or who earned less than the other spouse to be able to survive based on the married lifestyle. The financial order is not a method to punish the supporting parent. The main goal is to provide for the child and the former spouse. For some, the situation has changed and there is the need to change the order.

There are circumstances where it is possible to change the amount that is paid. This can be done by reducing or increasing it. The case itself will dictate whether this is done. It is even possible to revoke the support completely. Understanding the law in these circumstances is essential.

What does Indiana law say about child custody and relocation?

Indiana parents who have gotten a divorce and have children will undoubtedly want the best for them. When there is a child custody agreement, the noncustodial parent will generally have visitation rights. In a best-case scenario, the parents will be amicable and able to talk cordially to one another regarding issues with the child. Even if that is not the case, the agreement is meant to ensure both parents have sufficient time with the child and act in his or her best interests.

However, in some instances, it becomes necessary for a custodial parent to relocate. In such a circumstance, it is imperative that both parents understand the law for relocation, modifying a child custody order to accommodate it, and when it can be done. First, the parent who is relocating is required to file a notice that he or she intends to move. It must be with the clerk of the court that did the following: issued the child custody order or the parenting time order; or if that is not applicable, it must be filed in the relevant jurisdiction.

Forget to sign a prenup? Here’s what you can do

Postnuptial agreements can be extremely useful for couples who did not sign a marital agreement prior to marriage. A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement, except that it is signed after a couple is already married.

A couple can enter into one of these agreements days or years after they get married. These marital contracts stipulate how the couple will divide their assets and liabilities in the event of a legal separation, divorce or death.

What happens to my pension in a divorce?

After years working hard and saving for retirement, the prospect of having those funds suddenly cut in half worries many people. But with more and more people ending their marriages later in life, division of retirement funds becomes a common negotiation point in divorce.

Thinking of getting a divorce, or already started divorce proceedings? If you possess significant retirement assets, creating a plan for dividing those assets saves a lot of headaches. In many situations, you won't be able to hold on to all of your pension in divorce. But agreements like a QDRO can help ensure everyone is treated fairly.

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