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Category: Family Law

What Legal Rights Does a Non-Custodial Parent Have?

While divorce is difficult and often incredibly emotional, its effects go far beyond the separation of two adults who no longer wish to be married. When minor children are involved, decisions about custody must be made. Decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. And unless a parent has serious problems that could endanger the child, the courts typically favor the involvement of both parents in raising their children. Most often, parents share custody in Indiana. The parent with whom the child spends more time is typically considered the custodial parent. The other parent is the non-custodial parent. The term “non-custodial” can be confusing. It might lead some no ...

How is Pet Custody Determined in the Divorce Process?

We Know the Treatment of Pets in the Divorce Process Is Important to You. A pet custody agreement drafted by a skilled divorce lawyer is essential. Most people consider pets to be part of the family, not property. The law sees them differently. Thankfully, our attorneys know a way you can work around that fact. There are steps you can take to create a pet custody agreement during a divorce. This agreement will help determine how pet custody will be handled in your divorce. We love our pets, and for good reason. Companion animals have been known to lower stress, teach children compassion, and help ease symptoms of depression. When it comes to divorce, deciding who gets Fluffy and ...

Do I Need a Lawyer for Mediation?

Mediation is a way to resolve your differences with another party and avoid the high costs in time, energy, emotion and money that come with litigation. It involves a neutral third party who guides the parties to an agreement which ends the dispute. You don’t need a lawyer to be involved in mediation, but if your dispute involves your federal or Indiana legal rights, it’s best that you have one to help you. A mediator is normally an attorney who does this full time or as part of his or her legal practice, as we do at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law. Mediators can handle any kind of dispute, whether it’s related to divorce, child custody, disagreements between business owners or rea ...

Should Indiana’s Spousal Maintenance Law Change?

If you’re a spouse who sacrificed a career to care for children and later divorces, you may get spousal support for only three years. If you’re back in the workforce after being absent for years, this isn’t much time to get your income to a level where you can comfortably support yourself. This part of Indiana family law has come under scrutiny and should be changed because of the unfairness it can cause. This type of spousal maintenance (the term “alimony” isn’t used in Indiana law) is known as rehabilitative maintenance. It’s supposed to help “rehabilitate” a spouse whose unpaid job (possibly for decades) was to care for children and a household; it gives a three-year wi ...

Mediation Can Help Bring Legal Actions to an Early Conclusion

The legal system has become so complex, time consuming and costly that parties normally work very hard to avoid using it. After a civil lawsuit is filed, negotiations may ebb and flow, but the vast majority of Indiana lawsuits are resolved through settlements, not verdicts after trials. Those are the endings you see in movies and TV -- reality is normally far less dramatic. Mediation is the use of a neutral third party to help the parties negotiate a resolution. At Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law, Larry Church, Jason Lopp and Dana Eberle-Peay not only negotiate settlements for their clients involved in litigation, but they also work as mediators in other cases. There are many benefits to ...

Considerations for Postnuptial and Prenuptial Agreements

An Indiana divorce can drain you of energy, emotion and dollars. Two potential ways to prevent or lessen those losses are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. They are agreements made between the parties either before (prenuptial) or after (postnuptial) they’re married. These agreements can spell out how various issues (but not child custody or support) will be resolved in case the parties end their marriage. Without one of these agreements, under Indiana law all property brought into a marriage or acquired during it is joined together and will be subject to division in a divorce. Under Kentucky law, property is deemed marital or nonmarital. The division of property starts with a presum ...

Should I Insure My Child Support Payments? 

Child support in a divorce ensures that parents give their child the quality of life and support they intended to provide while they were still married. It's a critical component of most divorce agreements when the couple has children. Yet what many parents fail to consider is what will happen to their child's quality of life and their support payments if at some point in the future the supporting parent dies or becomes disabled. In these instances, the income providing the support stops, but the child's need for support does not. One way to ensure that the child will receive all of the support necessary, in spite of obstacles like these, is through insuring the child support. Many parents a ...

Educational Support Orders

Married parents get to choose whether they will (or whether they can) finance their child’s college education. For divorced parents, however, that choice is one of the luxuries they often have to sacrifice. Nearly everyone is familiar with the concept of child support in divorce and custody cases. The court can (and nearly always does) order one parent to pay child support to the other parent. Child support is a contribution toward the child’s basic needs: a roof over his head, food in her stomach, clothes on his back. Child support ends at a certain age by statute or upon certain life events, such as marriage or enlistment in the military. When the parents don’t have a combined house ...

Handling Long-Distance Visitation

Legally speaking, childhood lasts only 18 years. The rest of life is considered adulthood. With that much disparity, it's no wonder we lose touch with what it's like to be a kid. Still, adult situations affect children deeply, and divorce is no exception. That's not to say divorce isn't often the path that's best for everyone in a family, but when you're caught up in the hullabaloo of the adult aspects, keep in mind the kid POV. No one knows exactly what to say or do to help children thrive in any kind of split custody schedule. But it's vital to try to tap into your own life markers and remember how adult interactions – particularly your relationships with your parents -- made you feel w ...

Department of Child Services & Human Trafficking in Indiana

It can be difficult for Americans to admit that some of humanity’s biggest problems don’t just happen “somewhere else.” No state is immune from social ills like poverty, hunger, illiteracy, discrimination, and human trafficking. That’s right. This modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain happens right here in Indiana. In fact, we have one of 42 task forces set up by the U.S. Justice Department to address the growing crime. It's called IPATH: the Indiana Protection of Abused and Trafficked Humans. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, operated by Polaris Project since December 2007, has received calls, em ...

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 p ...