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Custody Disputes and the Guardian ad Litem

When the custody of your child is in dispute to the point where the courts have become involved, you have, in a sense, relinquished certain decisions about your child’s future to the judge. It’s your job to convince the judge that your opinion is the correct one and is in your child’s best interests. If you have an attorney (and you should!), he or she will advocate for you and present your case – your arguments – to the judge. But the other parent of your child believes his or her opinion is the correct one, too, and that it is in your child’s best interests. And there’s most likely another attorney on that side presenting that case – and those arguments – to the judge. I ...

Child Support Calculations

It’s no secret that raising children is expensive. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that annual child-rearing expenses for a child in a two-child, married-couple, middle-income (before tax $61,530 to $106,540) family ranges between $12,800 and $14,970, while expenditures by married households with one child averages 25 percent more. To raise a child from birth to age 18 will cost an average of $245,340 (in 2013 dollars). These estimates are used in developing child support guidelines, which vary from state to state, but are established by each state’s Supreme Court or legislature. Child support is based on the idea that the children of divorced parents should ...

Primer on Transgender Legal Name and Gender Changes in Indiana

Transitioning from female to male (FTM) or male to female (MTF) is a lengthy process – one that is often marked more by struggle than by celebration. For people who are transgendered, being able to legally change their name and gender marker is a momentous milestone. Telling loved ones of your new name or proper pronouns is certainly a big step, but there comes a time when it’s important to transform them from mere preference to official terminology. The process varies from state to state, and not all judges are willing to grant it, so to save yourself from any problems in the future, it’s wise to consult an attorney. Much of the way we are distinguished throughout life is by name and ...

What Happens if You Die in Indiana Without a Will?

Everyone dies, but not everyone makes a will. While it’s understandable that some people are uncomfortable discussing their mortality, their reluctance to plan for it can force their families to fight through the courts in order to determine where their assets will go and how their debts will be paid. Unfortunately, not having a will is extremely common. According to a 2014 survey, more than 60 percent of Americans do not have one. And the No. 1 reason why not? “Just haven’t gotten around to making one.” Who should have a will? Just about everyone. Whether your estate is small and simple or large and complicated, planning ahead gives you some control over what happens to your belong ...

Some Estate Planning Considerations for Same-Sex Couples After Obergefell

The law is always in flux. To be effective, laws have to be able to address the constantly evolving views and values of society. Many civil rights issues are battled over in the courts and the legislature for decades. In 1973, Maryland became the first state to ban same-sex marriage by statute, spurring the gay and lesbian equal rights movement forward through domestic partnerships, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), constitutional amendments, civil unions, patchwork state legalization/prohibition, and full marriage legalization in June of 2015. The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges prevents any state from denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That ruling automatic ...

What to Expect in a Divorce Action

Everyone knows that no matter what the tag says, one size does NOT fit all. Divorces are the same way, since no two sets of circumstances are identical. Legally referred to as a “dissolution of marriage,” many divorces are settled without the parties having to endure a contested courtroom proceeding. If you are unable to settle your case with your spouse, then it will go to trial. The complexity of any divorce really hinges on two main points: whether or not there are minor children and whether or not the parties have an agreement on all the issues. Listed here are some general guidelines, but it is extremely important to consult a family law attorney who can cut out the excess and tail ...

Do All Assets Have to Pass through Probate?

Some assets pass through probate when an asset holder dies. However, not all assets must be forced into probate. Sometimes a will is not the ideal mechanism for ensuring that your assets are efficiently passed to your loved ones. We outline everything you need to know about the probate process and its effects on your assets.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the name of a legal process th[...]