Articles Posted in Family Law

Managing money after divorce is often challenging for both spouses, but women may have a tougher time and be at higher risk for financial problems, according to Reuters News.

Munster divorce lawyers can help minimize those risks. We can assist clients with avoiding common pitfalls. And we can fight to ensure that an Indiana divorce settlement — including property division, child support and alimony — is in a client’s best interest.Often both parties to a divorce underestimate the financial impact of reducing household income by 50 percent while doubling expenses, including the expense of running two residences.

An experienced Indiana family law attorney will understand the challenges and can often assist with solutions. An experienced divorce lawyer is money well spent and can be vital when it comes to ensuring a fair and equitable separation. Parties who treat legal fees as an expense to be minimized may find themselves far worse off than had they invested in capable legal counsel.

Reuters reports a new study by the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project found that divorce rates are again on the rise as the economy recovers. Rates had fallen as much as 57 percent in 2009 in response to the economic downturn as couples stayed together to weather the financial storm.

Meanwhile, divorce settlements have become much more complex since 2008 — largely due to couples dealing with bad real estate debt. In many cases, relocation has also impacted child custody cases.

“Three of the top five causes for divorce are often financial: job loss, housing problems and credit card debt,” says Chris Bixby, a senior financial planner and vice president with Key Private Bank. Credit card debt is often a risk divorcing women fall prey to, according to the experts.

Nine out of 10 women will become responsible for their own finances at some point — typically due to death or divorce. Far too many are not prepared with the financial knowledge that can help protect their future. In some cases, they may fall prey to outright scams. In other cases, financial illiteracy may otherwise threaten their future financial well-being.

Seeking the advice of a Munster family law attorney with extensive experience in financial planning can help protect your rights, your future and your family. Without proper planning, a spouse can be left without the resources necessary to build a brighter future. And that’s something all the financial planning in the world may not correct.

Historically, a house has been a couple’s biggest asset. Not so since the collapse of the real estate market. Whether the marital home is an asset or liability depends on many factors, including the property’s current market value. Retirement funds are another critical piece of any divorce settlement.
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“A pension plan for the less successful spouse,” is what the Huffington Post called alimony payments in Indiana.

Alimony in Indiana can be a critical component of any divorce settlement. Together with child support and property division, alimony can determine the future quality of life for both parties for years to come. One of the impacts of the recession is a renewed effort to limit alimony payments, particularly once a spouse reaches the age of retirement.William Quigley, who describes himself as venture capitalist, views the perceived inequity from a largely male perspective. A mother and wife may well have raised children while forgoing a career or advanced degree. She may have worked while the husband earned an advanced degree with more earning power. Make no mistake about it: Divorce is a major destroyer of wealth and one of the primary risks for poverty — particularly among older women.

Alimony can be a lifeline. Typically awarded for up to half the length of marriages lasting less than 10 years, alimony may be awarded indefinitely upon the termination of long-term marriages. For a former husband, unreasonable alimony can have a dramatically negative impact on his future quality of life. As in any divorce, an experienced Munster divorce lawyer must be called in to deal with the specific issues that come up in spousal splits, including alimony.

Quigley’s perspective aside, he goes on to suggest a marriage disclosure statement that sheds light on the legal burden each spouse inherits when tying the knot:

-You are entering into a legally binding contract.

-You are agreeing to assume debts acquired by your spouse during the marriage.

-You may be required to pay money to your spouse in the form of alimony in the event of divorce.

-You may face garnishment of wages or other state enforcement action to collect monies owed.

-Spousal support may be ordered for life, even if your spouse chooses divorce. Such payment could exceed 50 percent of your income and could increase if you remarry.

-Legal obligations of spousal support are not negated by spousal conduct, including infidelity.

Certainly, a premarital agreement may address some of these issues. And the letter of the law does not take into consideration how an experienced Northwest Indiana divorce attorney can improve your legal standing. But this look at the obligations you assume as part of a marriage should at least provide pause for those who are facing divorce without an experienced legal advocate at their side.

Make no mistake about it: Futures are routinely decided via property division and child support and alimony awards. Knowing the advantages, disadvantages and tax implications of each is vital to understanding what’s in the best interest of your client.
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Constructive Trust Notice for all interested persons, the Estate of Cynthia Mae Cashner claims a constructive trust on all

assets owned by Frederick C. Cashner, Jr.  No property of any kind is to be removed from the premises located at 371 East Tratebas Road, Valparaiso, Porter County,Indiana.  Additionally, no assets are to be used or transferred.  Anyone accepting or assisting in  the transfer of assets, accounts or property shall do so at their own financial risk and will be held accountable.

This is a notice that I am using in a Wrongful Death Case.  It is a very sad situation as a wife was seeking a divorce from her husband in the City of Valparaiso,  Porter County, Indiana.  On Easter Sunday he shot her to death with an AK-47 at her place of business in Portage, Indiana.  Under Indiana Law a murderer cannot inherit from the estate of the person whom he killed. The relevant statute is known as the “Slayers rule” and states as follows: IC 29-1-2-12.1

Indiana child custody modification is a topic of discussion for many divorced parents thriving through career changes which may change their lifestyle or create the need for relocation. The court plays a role in lifestyle changes of divorced parents whenever the alterations in children’s lifestyles change. The court often must reevaluate to determine if the change supports the best interests of the children.

Recently, circumstances changed for an Indiana woman who was originally ordered to be primary custodian of her two children. This woman decided it would be in the best interest of her family to relocate over 30 miles closer to her job location. This decision brought up a contention in the law. Under Indiana law, children have a right to a stable home and the relocation stirred up concerns about the extent of stability due to relocation.

It is true that stability in the child’s environments, such as, the same school, same friends and social activities, offer stability. Of course, the availability of the parent to be home with children is important for stability as well. So, Indiana courts need to evaluate several factors when it comes to modification of custody rights.

On February 7, 2011, the Indiana House Judiciary Committee secured an 8 to 4 vote towards a resolution about the prospect of banned gay marriage in the State of Indiana. Proposed Resolution 6 would ban gay marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and any government recognition of gay and lesbian couples in Indiana.  Micah Clark of the American Family Association spoke out to state that the people of Indiana should have the right to define marriage.

If gay couples are not able to be married, they are not able necessarily able to receive the same legal rights as married couples in some very possible legal situations should the relationship maintain longevity. For example, if a gay couple has spent twenty years together with little contact from other family members on either side, the gay couple is more likely to know the wishes of their partner for illness, life and life threatening situations. However, the partner will not be able to speak on a behalf of a partner in life threatening situations when healthcare decisions must be made, according to lack of cohabitation laws. Depending upon the relationship that the healthy partner has with legally responsible family members, the healthy partner may or may not be able to even receive information about the medical condition of the partner, let alone make a healthcare decision for the partner.

This premise also holds true for domestic cohabitants that are heterosexual.  The only form of documentation that would be legally binding in this case is a living will and advanced healthcare directive that specifically states who should be contacted to make healthcare decisions for an ill partner if the ill partner is unable to make such decisions.

Indiana law about missed payments for child support indicates that a Class C felony charge can be submitted to the court is missed payments are in excess of $15,000, including one or more children. Such was the case recently for an Elkhart County Indiana man after a long battle. In this case, the father had moved to California following his divorce, but maintained joint custody of his children with his former wife. In 2001, the mother secured sole custody of the children. Yet, the ex-husband challenged the decision and a lengthy custody and support battle began.  During this time, the father did not pay child support and sought after assistance from federal courts. Soon, the Indiana court filed charges with two counts of Class C Felony against the father for unpaid child support in excess of $17,000. This decision was based on the Indiana Code Section 35-46-1-5(a).

In 2009, the father was arrested in California and extradited to Indiana. He was then placed in prison and attempted to represent himself as his own legal counsel. He experienced emotional issues during imprisonment which prompted the court to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent his interests. During an illness that the father suffered while in prison, the court held its final hearing about the case. The court decided to remove his second count for Class C felony nonsupport, but gave him a five-year sentence for the first count.

This is one serious example that indicates parents must pay child support. The risks associated with unpaid child support often become a reality for parents who do not pay child support. Indiana court systems may seem to work slowly, but eventually their work does catch up to people who do not abide by Indiana child support laws.

When cohabiting partners break up, there is more that goes into to a simple break up in many cases. It is not as easy to make the separation with the wave of a hand good bye. Too often, following a break up of cohabitants, it is as emotionally devastating as a divorce would be and the entanglement of potential legal matters can be just as great as in cases of divorce. It is important to be proactive about protecting yourselves throughout cohabitation to prevent disagreements should cohabitation come to an end. This is particularly true because laws do not exist regarding Indiana cohabitation.  Though, mutual written agreements can be made during cohabitation to prevent or decrease hardship for each other should partners decide not to live together any longer.

  • Knowing each other’s income throughout the term of cohabitation helps to define roles and sets up reasonable expectations should the living arrangement fail.
  • Knowing the anniversary of the move in date can be a time of celebration. It’s also worthy to note should the parties decide to end cohabitation.  The ending date of cohabitation can be equally important.

Cohabitation in Indiana is very appealing to many people today for a variety of reasons. However, what is not so appealing is the fact there are no legal guidelines for people to follow when things go wrong. This includes during times of disagreements, ending the relationship, Illness, competency, death and when children are involved. The following outlines some of the most serious risks associated with cohabitation.

  • There are no laws regarding the age or gender for cohabitation.
  • Ending cohabitation does not require legal documentation.

Aside from dealing with specific laws for couples in Indiana, the work of lawyers in the area of divorce is delicate and time consuming.  So, let’s get down to some of the basic but labor intensive work that lawyers do to protect the interests of those who are getting divorced. Here are some fast facts.

    1. Divorce lawyers do not simply print out generic forms for you to sign when completing a divorce.  Each document used in the divorce process is prepared after careful evaluation of all considerations.
    2. Since divorce lawyers do not provide standardized forms, you need not worry about disclaimers, such as found on online legal document forms.

The Lake County Indiana Local Court Rules require that the parents attempt a collaborative divorce whenever possible So, it might be nice to have a check list of tips to follow after divorce so that your children can thrive through life. It also helps from the legal perspective to ensure that you are both meeting obligations to protect the well being of your children.

  1. Select dates and times for children’s interaction with each parent.
  2. Consider times and dates for interaction between both parents and children. Showing a united front is important in child rearing.