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

Termination of a parent-child relationship in Indiana is done through judicial proceeding that will forever end the legal, social and financial relationship and responsibilities between a parent and child. It means that all power, privilege, immunity, duty and obligation to that child by the parent is totally gone.mother1

Parents can choose to voluntarily terminate their parent-child relationship, but only when the action is initiated by the Department of Child Services or an adoption agency. Cases if involuntary termination are initiated by DCS.  Continue reading

The New Year brings with it the potential for change. Many who have been suffering in marriages that are miserable, loveless or simply unfulfilling seize the opportunity to write a new chapter.brokenheart

That’s why January has a reputation for being “divorce month.”

But as heartbreaking – or freeing – as the process may be, one of the first things we recommend to those on both sides of the aisle: Companionship.

Not with each other, of course, but with an experienced divorce attorney. You’re going to need a legal, tax and investment professional to help guide you through this change so you don’t end up on shaky financial ground. The goal is to keep things as amicable as possible and as equitable as possible. In cases where relations are contentious or strained, it’s especially important to have a third-party to help mediate the conversation and goals. Continue reading

A few years back, I wrote a blog article entitled Negligent Party Hosts in Indiana May Face Liability. The article provided some general rules and suggestions concerning possible liability issues for people who have parties during the holiday season.

A recent Indiana decision, F. John Rogers, as Personal Representative of Paul Michalik, Deceased, and R. David Boyer, Trustee of the Bankruptcy Estate of Jerry Lee Chambers v. Angela Martin and Brian Paul Brothers, 02A05-1506-CT 520 increases the potential for liability and the responsibilities for a party host.

In that case, the land possessors, defendants Martin and Brothers shared a residence.  They threw a party and alcohol was purchased using funds from a joint bank account.  Jerry Lee Chambers was a guest at the party.

Spousal maintenance – also sometimes referred to as alimony – is awarded in Indiana divorces under certain circumstances. couple

Typically, this is offered when one spouse earns significantly more than the other. Usually, this type of support is temporary, though a judge may determine it should be indefinite if the lesser earning spouse is disabled or unable to return to work for other reasons.

Whether spousal maintenance is permanent or temporary, parties may request modification or even termination when there is a material change in circumstance, such as remarriage. However, the 1994 Indiana Court of Appeals case of Roberts v. Roberts was clear in establishing the fact that spousal maintenance is not automatically terminated upon remarriage. There still needs to be proof presented by the moving party that the marriage means a significant change in the former spouse’s ability to support himself or herself.

This issue was weighed against recently by the Indiana Supreme Court in Gertiser v. Gertiser. Continue reading