Some of the most difficult Indiana family law issues someone can deal with are those surrounding divorce, child custody, child support, and alimony. These issues, especially because they center around family, can often be emotional and stressful to deal with. In order to help keep emotions in check and avoid making decisions out of frustration or anger, it is always in a person’s best interest to seek the help and advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney during any of these procedures. These legal professionals specialize in the areas of divorce, child support and custody, and related issues in the legal system.

Indiana Family Law Help and AdviceIt is very important, however, to seek a legal professional who is well versed in the Indiana family law system. These laws vary between states and are often complex and emotional, which can make them more difficult for individuals to navigate on their own. Family law attorneys in Indiana can help their clients to better understand the law and regulations, which also helps them to understand and enforce their rights as spouses and parents. Often times, these lawyers help stop their clients from overlooking important situations in their cases that could have long term effects.

Indiana Divorce Help and Advice

Under Indiana state law, a divorce can be granted in any of the following situations:  irreparable breakdown of the couple’s marriage, if either of the spouses has been convicted of a felony during the couple’s marriage, or incurable insanity of either spouse lasting for a period of two years or more. An “irreparable breakdown of marriage” is the basis used for a no-fault divorce, which means the family court system grants the divorce without any presence of evidence or wrongdoing on the behalf of either party – a fault divorce is when one spouse has done something to cause the marriage to end.

Indiana Child Custody Help

Most states in the country, including Indiana, use the “best interests of the child” standard when it comes to making decisions regarding child custody in Indiana. The judge overseeing the case considers many factors when making his or her final decision including the wishes of both parents and the children involved. Additionally, judges look at the living conditions the child will have with each parent and the relationship between the child and each parent as well as relationships between siblings. Should children be over the age of 14, their wishes are more highly considered.

In cases where one parent has been granted visitation time, the state of Indiana does make a stipulation for those parents who have been convicted of a domestic violence related crime that was heard or witnessed by the child in some way. In these cases, it is very possible for the judge to order the parent’s visitation be supervised, either by another family member or a third party. These visitations would be supervised for a period of at least one year but no more than two years immediately following the commitment of the crime or until the child has been emancipated, whichever situation comes first.

Indiana Child Support Help

Under Indiana state law, parents have a responsibility to pay child support until their child reaches 21 years of age. This is the law in all cases except those where the child is emancipated before the age of 21, the child is incapacitated and requires additional care, or when the child is 18 years of age but has not enrolled in or attended secondary or post-secondary education and is considered capable of supporting him or herself. Any child who is married, has joined the armed services, or is not under the direct control and care of a parent or government agency can be considered emancipated.

Indiana courts outline that both parents are responsible for child support, but in most cases the non-custodial parent, or parent who spends less time with the children, is the one who pays child support. Laws in this state assume the custodial parent, or parent who has the children most of the time, already spends the required amount of money needed for their care and upbringing. The amount of child support payments is based on a set of guidelines that are used to help meet the child’s mental, physical, and educational needs while also taking the parents’ finances into account.

Indiana Father’s Rights Help

The child’s mother has often been considered the child’s best caregiver, which leaves many fathers confused about their rights. While the bond between mother and child is undeniable, many people do not understand the impact a father can have on a child’s life as well. Studies have shown that fathers can be effective disciplinarians while also playing a key role in the child’s development including language and social skills. Also, there have been studies linking involved, caring, and dedicated fathers with better attendance and overall performance in school from children.

Those attorneys who specialize in Indiana fathers’ rights can help fathers navigate the process of upholding their rights and are a key component for unwed fathers who need to establish their child’s paternity. This judicial process can be started by the child’s mother, the child’s presumed father, and/or a county prosecutor should the child be receiving financial assistance. When a paternity action has been started, the parties involved can either voluntarily submit to genetic testing or the judge can motion a court to order the testing be completed.

At the end of the paternity motion, the court determines if the male in question is or is not the child’s biological father based on the genetic testing results. Should the male be determined the biological father, the judge can move to make a custody decision, using the “best interests of the child” standard and ordering child support from the non-custodial parent. Some of the benefits of having the child’s paternity determined are that the father now has a legal right to time and establishing a relationship with that child and the father can more easily enforce his parental rights.

What Do I Do Now?

When faced with any of these issues, it is important for individuals to seek the legal help of a family law attorney who is well versed in Indiana family law before taking any legal action on their own. Should they begin legal proceedings without the advice and assistance of a lawyer, it is possible they could lose out when it comes to their rights in divorce, their rights to time and a relationship with their children, and they can often be faced with some long term consequences they are not prepared to handle. Having the help of an experienced attorney can help the legal process go much smoother.

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