Indiana Family Law Attorneys

Family Law Attorneys
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Child Custody

What is the difference between physical custody and legal custody?

Physical custody defines with whom the minor child will reside and who is responsible for the care, supervision, or welfare of the minor child. Legal custody defines the person who has the authority and responsibility for the major decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, including the child’s education, health care, and religious training. Joint legal custody means that both parties will share authority and responsibility for the major decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, including the child’s education, health care and religious training.

Who is entitled to custody?

In Indiana, there is no presumption favoring either parent. The court determines custody in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the best interest, the court considers all relevant factors including the age and sex of the child, the wishes of the child’s parents, the wishes of the child, the interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s interests, the child’s adjustment to his home, school, and community, the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, any evidence of domestic or family violence, and any evidence that the child may have been cared for by a defacto custodian.

Can a parent relocate with the children to another state?

Relocation of a minor child depends on the unique facts and circumstances of each case. The relocating individual must file a notice of intent with the clerk of the court. The nonrelocating patent may then file an objection which must be timely and complaint with the statute. Upon motion of either party, the court will set the matter for hearing to determine if the relocating parent may actually relocate with the minor child. There are specific timing and content requirements related to the notice. Initially, the relocating individual has the burden to prove that the proposed relocation is made in good faith and for legitimate reason, which, if proven, the non-relocating parent must then show that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.

Child Support

How is child support determined in Indiana?

The amount of child support is governed by application of the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines are designed to ensure consistency and predictability in child support amounts. In any proceeding there is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support which would be awarded by applying the Indiana Child Support Guidelines is correct. However, the court may conclude that the evidence in a particular case justifies deviating from the Guideline amount. The Guidelines utilize a Child Support Obligation Worksheet to calculate the presumed child support amount, which considers weekly gross income, any subsequent born children, any support obligation or duty for prior born children, maintenance received by either party, work-related child care expenses of each parent, weekly insurance premiums paid to provide insurance coverage for the children, and a parenting time credit which is based on the number of overnights exercised by the parent paying support.

Can child support be modified?

A child support obligation may be modified upon a showing of changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms of the existing order unreasonable. A child support order may also be modified upon a showing that a party has been ordered to pay an amount in child support that differs by more than 20% from the amount that would be ordered by applying the child support guidelines and the order requested to be modified was issued at least 12 months before the petition was filed.

Property Distribution

What property gets divided in a divorce?

In a divorce, the court will divide the property of the parties whether the property was owned by either spouse before the marriage, acquired by either spouse after the marriage and before the filing of the petition for dissolution or acquired by the joint efforts of both parties.

How is the property divided?

In Indiana, an equal division of the marital property is presumed to be just and reasonable. However, an equal division of marital property is not mandated by the court and the presumption of an equal division may be rebutted by a party who presents relevant evidence that an equal division would not be just and reasonable.

The court will consider the following evidence:

  • Contributions of each spouse in the acquisition of the property, regardless of whether the contribution was income producing
  • The extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse before the marriage or through inheritance or gift
  • Economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the disposition of property is to become effective
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage as related to the disposition or dissipation of their property
  • The earnings or earnings ability of the parties