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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

How is parenting time decided if I do not live near my ex?

If you are a father living in Indianapolis and do not have primary custody, spending time with your child is probably extremely important to you. When you and your child’s other parent do not live in close proximity, arranging parenting time can be complicated. While it is always best for two parents to agree amicably on a schedule, sometimes the court does get involved. Here is what you need to know about the guidelines the court uses to determine parenting time in this situation.

According to the Indiana Rules of Court, the age of your child will be a huge factor in determining parenting time. Obviously, a child who is in school full-time has a much a different schedule than a baby or toddler. The court suggests that the non-custodial parent of a school-age child have the child during breaks from school, including several weeks over the summer. For children who are three or four years old, visits may last no longer than 8 days, with six weeks in between visits.

Keeping in touch with grandchildren after an adoption

After having developed a strong relationship with your grandchildren in Indiana, you would likely be willing to do whatever you could to keep that relationship going even if something were to happen affecting your adult child’s parental status. Oftentimes, grandparents come to us here at Schemb’s Law after the state has taken custody of their grandchildren and approved their adoption by another family wondering if they can retain the right to keep in contact with them. The answer to that questions depends entirely on who adopts them.

In many cases, if your grandchildren are removed from the custody of your adult child, the state may approach you to assume either temporary or full-time custody. If, however, your circumstances do not allow for that, then the kids may be placed with another biological relative. If that relative eventually adopts them, you can seek legal visitation rights (or retain an already established visitation schedule) under the Indiana Family Code provided that person is related to your grandchildren in the following way:

  • A stepparent
  • Another grandparent
  • A sibling
  • An aunt or uncle
  • A niece or nephew

3 signs of parental alienation to look for during divorce

You love your child, which is why it has been heartbreaking to find that he is not longer treating you the same way he used to. Once a fun, pleasant child, your child is now throwing tantrums when he has to see you. What happened?

Divorce is stressful, but children who suddenly have massive changes in their personalities may be dealing with the symptoms related to parental alienation. This is when one parent essentially "programs" a child against the other. For example, one parent may start saying negative things about the other in front of the child or make the child feel badly about saying good things about the other parent.

What methods of DNA testing for paternity are available?

There are many reasons men in Indianapolis wish to find out whether or not they are the father of a child. In order to do so, you will need to undergo some form of DNA testing in order to ascertain whether you are a child’s biological parent. Here is what you need to know about the different types of tests that are available.

According to Fox News, as the potential father, you will need to submit your DNA for comparison, either through a blood test or by a buccal (cheek) swab. Your sample will then be compared to one from the baby. If you are not the father, the test will show that there is a 0 percent chance you are related. On the other hand, a result of 99.99 percent probability means that you are the father of the child. No DNA test currently available can offer 100 percent accurate results.

Examining custodial rights for unmarried fathers

Most may assume the matter of child custody in Indianapolis to be fairly cut-and-dry: when parents separate, both the father and the mother have equal custodial rights. Yet what if you are not married to your child’s mother? Many men come to us here at Schembs Law after having separated from their children’s mothers wondering what sort of custody rights they may have. The answer is often not an easy one. There are, however, methods through which you may be granted such a benefit.

The Annotated Code of Indiana does indeed state your child’s mother is automatically granted full legal custody of your child if he or she is born out of wedlock. In such an event, your first step should be to sign an affidavit of paternity. Such a document can be obtained from the hospital where your child was delivered. In such a case, it must be signed by both you and the mother within 72 hours of his or her birth. If you wish to establish paternity after that, the proper paperwork must be obtained through your local health department.

What is paternity fraud?

Like most fathers in Indianapolis, you likely share a strong bond with your children. Yet what if you were to discover that, at least from a biological perspective, your children were not your own? While your love for them may not be affected by such a revelation, it could certainly prompt the question of why you may have been led to believe that they were. In some cases, it could be that you were the victim of paternity fraud.

What is paternity fraud? Put simply, it is any case in which a man has purposefully been misidentified as a child’s father. While such an error may seem outlandish, it is actually much more common than you may think. In fact, study information shared by DNATesting.com estimates that as many as 30 percent of children may have the wrong man identified as their fathers on their birth certificates. You may wonder why your significant other (or any woman, for that matter) would elect to name you as the father of her children if you were not. In some cases, it may be to secure money for herself and the child.

Equal parenting time benefits

Because the role of a father in a child’s life is so pivotal for healthy development, both parents should seek to preserve this when they are discussing custody arrangements during an Indiana divorce. The father should be willing to take on equal responsibility, and the mother should realize that it is in her child’s best interests to have the schedule necessary for that strong, healthy bond.

The American Psychological Association notes that fathers need time for appropriate parenting. This includes opportunities for monitoring activities, developing healthy expectations, supporting the child emotionally and providing authoritative discipline. These are major elements in the success of the child’s adjustment after the divorce, so parenting plans should ensure that the child spends adequate time with each parent.

How asset division works in Indiana divorces

Other than child custody, asset division is often the most contentious part of a divorce. Every state in the United States has its own laws about how to fairly and appropriately divide assets. In Indiana, the courts pool all marital debts and assets into a "marital pot" and then divide based on a number of factors.

In theory, the division should be equal, but sometimes the courts decide on uneven division if one party attempted to hide assets or violated the law when disposing of assets.

Prenuptial agreements and its role in your marriage

Couples in Indiana who are either newly married or are on the path to joining newlyweds may be wondering whether or not prenuptial agreements are worth looking into. They can be a divisive topic with opinions ranging from "must have" to "absolutely avoid". Regardless, they do have the potential to play an important role in marriages.

The Business Insider starts off strong by saying that every couple should consider prenuptials before marriage. They tout it as a good way to understand one's partner better and find any possible dealbreakers before the marriage itself. They also reassure that while prenuptial agreements are binding, they can in fact be modified after a divorce with a postnuptial, just in case concerns about the finality of prenups exist. Generally speaking, since prenuptials are designed to help a couple split up shared assets, properties and debts, it is considered a vital step in saving splitting couples a headache during the divorce period.

How do I maintain a relationship with my grandkids after divorce?

If your child goes through a divorce, you may end up in a delicate situation regarding contact with your grandchildren, especially if he or she is the noncustodial parent. Even if the court grants you visitation rights, you may experience anger or resentment toward your child's former spouse. If you allow those feelings to manifest themselves in your speech or attitudes around your grandkids, they could damage your relationship and cause further pain.

According to Grandparents.com, one effective way to protect your relationship with your grandchildren is to maintain a cordial relationship with your child's former spouse. If you show respect toward both of your grandchildren's parents, the kids will probably feel more secure around you, and less like they are choosing sides. If possible, make an effort to make positive remarks about your former son- or daugher-in-law. Your grandchildren still love both of their parents, and they benefit from adult influences who are not continually criticizing their mom or dad. On the other hand, expressing constant negativity toward one parent may cause your grandchildren to withdraw from you.

Client Testimonials

  • My husband and I have a 12 year old grandson whose academics and social needs were being neglected. We turned to Schembs Law & Associates to help preserve our grandsons rights. With Schembs & Associates leadership and guidanceā€¦ Grandparent Rights
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