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Category: Family Law

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 ...

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 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 ...

What Happens If There Is No Will in Indiana?

People often put off creating a last will and testament either because they’re too busy or they don’t like contemplating end-of-life issues. But postponing a will is not a good idea. It can create confusion, expense, and delay for your loved ones after you’ve passed away. ...