The Indiana Court of Appeals recently took on the divorce case of a well-educated couple who married in 1995 and had two children. The husband, a tenured professor at Purdue University and the wife, a chemical engineer with a master’s degree in business administration, were separating in 2014 after nearly 20 years together.

Three wedding rings stacked on a dark background

At issue before the appellate court in Klimeck v. Klimeck was whether the trial court:

  • Properly and reasonably divided the marital estate;
  • Abused its discretion by ordering the husband to pay spousal maintenance to the wife;
  • Abused its discretion by imposing a gag order on the husband with regard to the wife’s medical conditions and treatments.

Ultimately, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.  Continue reading

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court decision in Laesch v. Laesch, finding a husband must:

  • Pay interest on his monthly-payments to his wife, because he did not pay it in a lump sum;
  • Be held in contempt for failure to obtain a life insurance policy naming his ex as the sole irrevocable beneficiary;
  • Pay for her attorney fees in taking the matter to court. sadness2

The outcome has proven costly for the husband, and illustrates the importance of ensuring you fully understand your obligations under each provision of the original Indiana divorce agreement. Failure to abide by any part of it could prove an expensive mistake.  Continue reading

Spousal support, once a critical aspect of any divorce case, has waned in recent years as both spouses often work outside the home and contribute somewhat equally to the financial stability of the household. Where husbands once were always required to pay spousal support – and often for many years after the divorce – it’s not so common these days. When it is approved, it’s often for a finite period of time. sadness3

Indiana Code 31-15-7-2 specifies the the circumstances under which spousal support can be awarded in Indiana. Most often, spousal support is awarded during the provisional period of the divorce, which is after the filing for divorce but prior to its finalization. ]However, it may also be awarded when:

One spouse lacks sufficient property to meet his or her needs and/ or the spouse is the custodian of a child whose physical or mental incapacity requires the custodian to forego employment. The court will consider the educational level of each spouse, whether family responsibilities resulted in an interruption in education/ training or employment, the earning capacity of each spouse and the time and expense needed for the lesser-earning spouse to acquire sufficient education or training. Continue reading

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed that a former husband’s early military retirement pay is in fact payable to his ex-spouse, per their Indiana divorce agreement, despite husband arguing they were not.salute

In the case of Seal v. Seal, the court ruled the terms of the original distribution formula, which were agreed upon by all parties, were clear and unambiguous.

This case highlights what is an increasing point of contention in many Indiana divorce cases, which is that of retirement funds. People are living longer, more often divorcing later in life and these funds are what will determine each spouse’s quality of life in the golden years ahead.  Continue reading

When custodial parent of a minor child in Indiana plans to move to a new residence, that parent must understand his or her rights or obligations with regard to child custody.suitcase

As of July 1, 2006, a parent with custody or parenting time with a minor has to first file a notice with the court and send a copy to give notice to the other parent. The court may then choose – or the other parent may request – a hearing to determine whether there should be a change in existing child custody, visitation or support. If the other parent has parenting time or is trying to get it, they must be afforded a copy of this required notice to the court.

The court can’t refuse to give you permission to move. However, it could refuse to allow you to take your child with you, or it could substantially alter the existing custody, visitation or support orders if you go through with the move. The court is generally going to consider:

  • Distance of the move;
  • Difficulty for the other parent to exercise parenting time after the move;
  • Whether parent-child relationship can be preserved after the move;
  • Whether there is a pattern of trying to support or deny contact between child and the other parent;
  • Reasons for the move;
  • Reasons the other parent opposes the move.

In the end, the court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child. Continue reading

In Indiana, when a custodial parent wishes to move either out-of-state or out of the country, he or she needs to comply with Indiana Code Chapter 31-17-2.2, which requires notification of the courts and the other parent. The law applies whether parents are divorced, separated or never married. travelandtourism

In cases where the intended move is extremely far away – across the country or overseas – both parents involved should consult with a child custody attorney in Indiana because the ramifications of such a move can be major. The court cannot prohibit someone from moving, but it can prohibit a parent from taking the child with them. And in the event you are the non-custodial parent, it’s important to consult with a lawyer if you wish to oppose a move or modify an existing arrangement. Failure to do so in a timely manner could complicate your case, and taking matters into your own hands could put you at a disadvantage.

Take the recent case of Martinez v. Cahue, an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which has jurisdiction over all of Indiana. This was a case involving an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. According to court records, a young boy until he was seven lived only with his mother, though his father lived nearby and saw him often. Mother and father had their own custody, visitation and support arrangement, though it was never formalized by a court order. Then, when the boy turned 7, his mother moved to Mexico, her native country, and he went with her. Continue reading

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