In 2016, there are so many different ways of becoming a parent. Beyond the so-called “traditional method,” there is adoption, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization. pregnantbaby

With the advancement of technology, the legalities have been slower to catch up, but there has been some precedent set to settle disputes that arise.

The recent case of Sieglein v. Schmidt dealt with one such case, recently weighed by the Maryland Court of Appeals. It had to do with establishing paternity in a case in which a woman married to a man with a vasectomy became pregnant via in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is a type of assisted reproductive technology that involves manually combining the sperm and egg in a laboratory dish and then implanting that embryo into the uterus.  Continue reading

When it comes to issues of parenting rights, child custody, visitation time and child support, there are many sensitive and complicated questions to consider. dating

One that we as Hammond family law attorneys see crop up is when one parent becomes involved with a new paramour, be it a boyfriend or girlfriend or a new legal spouse. It may be uncomfortable for the exes, but beyond that, it could mean changes in the parenting plan. That’s why we generally advise avoiding inviting new love interests to spend extensive time with one’s children until it becomes more serious.

There have been a significant number of cases we’ve seen in which a parent will apply to limit the amount of exposure children have to the new boyfriend or girlfriend. In some cases, this is out of legitimate concern, either fearing the child will form too close an attachment too soon or worrying about the child’s safety due to the paramour’s history. In other instances, it’s simply done out of spite or jealousy.  Continue reading

When it comes to matters of child custody, the wishes of the child – particularly that of a child over the age of 14 – are one of the main statutory factors the court will consider when it comes to request for modifications.teen

This is not to say that Indiana child custody modifications are solely based upon a child’s wishes. In fact, courts have traditionally been hesitant to do so. However, they are an “important consideration,” per a recent decision of Andrick v. Andrick by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Here, a father sought modification of a child custody agreement involving his teenage son, who was living with his ex-wife, her new fiance and her fiance’s two children. Although the lower court denied the modification, the court of appeals remanded the case. Although father had requested reversal of trial court’s ruling, the appellate court was “not prepared to go that far.” It noted there was evidence in the case that could arguably support a result in favor of the mother, but there were erroneous findings by the lower court on crucial issues. There were also repeated citation by the trial court of incorrect legal standards, and thus the appeals court lacked confidence in the accuracy of the lower court’s judgement. Continue reading

Last year, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision opened the doors for same-sex partners across the country to obtain a marriage license – and to have those marriages recognized across the country. Since that ruling, many same-sex couples have wed in Indiana. woman

But there are still some grey areas in our nation’s civil court systems with regard to these relationship. Take for example the recent case of Luttrell v. Cucco, weighed by the Virginia Supreme Court.

At its core, this was a dispute over spousal support. As is common in many temporary spousal support agreements, a provision indicated that the support agreements were subject to termination in the event of “cohabitation,” as defined in Va. Code 20-109. The law states that maintenance and support of a spouse may be ceased upon cohabitation, remarriage or death. Specifically, the law states that a spouse who has been “habitually cohabitating with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage for one year or more” is subject to termination of spousal support benefits.  Continue reading

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the family trial court erred in its application of a financial formula on a husband’s retirement accounts. For this reason, in Ahls v. Ahls, the appellate court ruled wife should receive $115,000 more than she was granted in the original divorce settlement. womanback

This is a good example of why it’s important to carefully review retirement accounts when determining a divorce settlement.

According to court records, husband and wife married in 1993 and had one child together. After 20 years of marriage, wife filed a petition for divorce. Continue reading

A man in Iowa at first thought it was a joke when a letter arrived from the state ordering him to pay child support for a 1-year-old born to a woman he hadn’t seen in 17 years. father1

But it was no laughing matter.

The case came about because, as The Daily Mail reported, the man was still legally married to that woman, his long-estranged wife. The pair had never formally divorced. In Iowa – just like in Indiana – a woman’s husband is the presumed father if:

  • He and his wife were married when the child was born;
  • The child is born no later than 300 days after the marriage ends.

Continue reading

For millennials, out-of-wedlock birth is often the norm. A number of studies have revealed that 64 percent of mothers give birth at least once without exchanging vows. Among women under 30, more than half have had births outside of marriage. And nearly half of all mothers have children without ever saying, “I do.” father

This is not to say that fathers aren’t a part of the children’s lives, but the parents are not in a marital relationship. Even if this has no bearing on the relationship parent has with child, it may have implications for the child’s financial stability.

IC 31-14 sets forth laws regarding establishment of paternity, including methods, persons permitted to file, venue and other provisions. IC 31-14-5-3 spells out some of limitations on paternity actions.

Essentially, both parents, if unmarried have three days after the child is born to establish paternity at the hospital via paternity affidavit. If mother is married, husband is presumed to be the father. A man will also be presumed the father if mother has been divorced or widowed less than 10 months. Otherwise, mother or father will have to go through additional administrative steps – and possibly the courts. Continue reading

Enforcement of child support orders are essential to ensuring the needs of Indiana’s youth are met. Parents seeking to enforce or modify these orders should seek legal counsel.

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In some cases, when parents do not pay, the court can order interest on the arrears, to account for the time single parents had to struggle to make ends meet without support.

On the other hand, sometimes economic circumstances of the non-custodial parent change and they are no longer able to continue paying support at the same level. Even so, they cannot simply stop paying. They must petition the court for a modification of child support payments, or else risk being charged interest and other fines and penalties. Continue reading

A survivor benefit plan of a military pension should be included in the “marital pot” when considering what should be calculated as an “asset” in an Indiana divorce.USflagbearers

That was the ruling handed down by the Indiana Court of Appeals in the recent case of In Re: the Marriage of Carr v. Carr.

This was a couple who had been married for 16 years and had two children together when the husband sought a divorce. For 14 years before the pair were married, husband had worked in the military, and his service continued while the pair were together. Prior to their marriage, the husband had begun building up his pension. During the marriage, that pension grew. He’d also earned a pension prior to the marriage from a private company. Continue reading

If you are a business owner contemplating divorce, you have additional considerations that wouldn’t come into play for many facing a separation. davestressed

It’s not an uncommon scenario, as many entrepreneurs toil long hours building the company, and the marriage can suffer. It’s typical of younger couples to marry with no prenuptial agreement. What starts as a $50,000 venture can expand to a $10 million enterprise by the time the marriage dissolves – and by that time, the spouse has a stake in the business growth.

Of course, every scenario is different, but preservation of the business is a top priority for many owners.  Continue reading