Every time we sit down with someone to discuss a potential divorce, we understand that it may have taken someone months, maybe even years, to pick up the phone to discuss their options. It is no easy decision to end a marriage that at one point you thought would last forever. Sometimes after a consultation, people in these situations will go back and reconcile and return to the place they were when they got married or even a new place reshaped by the experience of having come so close to losing their marriage.
But the reality is that the divorce rate in Indiana is among the highest in the nation. When someone ultimately reached the decision to move forward with ending a marriage, there are many questions that must be answered emotionally, spiritually, mentally, logistically, and, of course, legally.
When will I see my kids? Who is going to live where? Who gets what?
These are just a few of the legal questions that must be answered. Homan & Zentz, P.C. is here to assist Hoosiers with the legal aspect of divorce.
Hoe does a divorce work?
Once someone has made a decision to get divorced a petition must be filed. A petition for divorce must include specific statements to be considered a proper pleading. Those statements are not related to the reason for divorce with the exception of the fact that there has been an irretrievable breakdown and the marriage. Indiana is a "no fault" state.
Under Indiana Code 31-15-2-2, once a petition is filed, the divorce may not be finalized for 60 days from the date of filing a petition for divorce. Before the divorce can be finalized, there may be preliminary questions about who lives where and what will happen with children. If parties cannot agree, they may ask the court for a preliminary hearing and order to decide these issues while the divorce is pending.
When will I see my kids?
When children are involved it can be especially challenging. Often times school and activity schedules, work schedules, and continued fighting can put enormous strains on individuals trying to spend quality time with their kids.
Courts in Indiana apply a "best interest" standard when evaluating custody issues. While it may seem simple to say that a court is going to do what is in the best interest of children, that can be complicated when both parents believe that they have the best interest of a child at heart and those ideas are not consistent with each other. Under I.C. 31-17-2-8, there are statutory factors that the court will consider to determine what is best for a child including, the age and sex of the child, the wishes of the child's parent or parents, the wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age, the interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, or other family members, the child's adjustment to home, school, and community, the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, and evidence of a pattern of domestic of family violence by either parent.
Those factors are important and they must be supported by evidence properly admitted for a judge to consider. It is important to understand that simply believing you have your child's best interest at heart, while true, is not sufficient for the court to make a determination.
Homan & Zentz, P.C. is here to assist Hoosiers with legal issues surrounding custody and parenting time.
Who pays child support?
The answer is...it depends.
Child support is for the purpose of providing for a child/children and attempting to maintain their status quo to the extent possible. Child support is a function of incomes, who pays for child care, which party provides health care, and what the division of parenting time is between the parents. While it is generally very formulaic depending on those factors, there can be reasons for a court to deviate from a suggested support order but those reasons must be valid and in the best interest of the child/children.
Homan & Zentz, P.C. is here to assist Hoosiers with legal issues related to child support.
Who gets the house? The stuff?
Unless there is a prenuptial agreement, Indiana starts with the presumption that all assets of a marriage are owned jointly and must be divided 50-50. Often times people believe that because an asset is in their name only, it is not property of a marriage. While there are reasons to deviate from a 50-50 split if there is no prenuptial agreement, those reasons must be properly asserted and supported by evidence.
Homan & Zentz, P.C. is here to assist Hoosiers with legal issues related to asset division in divorce.