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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

How can bankruptcy before divorce help me?

If you are like many married people in Indiana who have experienced significant monetary woes, you may have also learned how much stress this reality can put on your marriage. It is a known fact that financial challenges have contributed to the end of many marriages over the years. If your money problems are severe enough, you might even be thinking about filing for bankruptcy. Before you try to rush through your divorce so you can file bankruptcy, you should think about the reverse.

As explained by The Balance, filing bankruptcy jointly with your spouse before filing for divorce might actually be better for you in the long run. Eliminating the potential that you could end up saddled with liability for marital debt after your divorce may go a long way toward helping you get the full fresh start you need at this time in your life.

3 ways to stand out as an exceptional father

A father's role in his children's lives can't be understated. They learn from him and rely on him for support. Despite a divorce, your children know who you are and how you act around them, and they know that they want you with them.

As a father, you want to be there for your children, but you worry that the courts won't give you the custody rights you deserve. It's possible to make a good impression in court that helps your case. Here are three tips for standing out as an exceptional father.

Parenting with your ex during the holidays

If you are a divorced dad in Indiana, the approaching holiday season may be one of your least favorite of the year. Even as society begins to change its views, fathers can still end up feeling like they get the short end of the stick when it comes to spending time with their children. This is never good, lest of all during treasured family events and traditions.

Whether this is your first holiday season after your divorce or not, Psychology Today suggests that you take a step back and adopt a proactive plan that gets you involved as much as possible with your kids at this time of year. This will involve communicating directly with your former spouse. Approaching this conversation as you would one with a co-worker might help to keep emotions at bay. Ask to make a plan for when the kids will be with each of you and identify special things that the kids can do with each of you.

Courts put child first in relocation plans after divorce

Relocating after a divorce in Indiana means another big change for the child who splits time between his parents' separate homes. But sometimes it cannot be avoided. For parents and children facing this issue, HuffPost offers several points for consideration.

  • If either parent disagrees with the relocation, they may turn to family court for resolution.
  • The child is of primary concern in family court, not the parents. A proposal to relocate must show why it is a beneficial move to both child and parent.
  • Family, friends and even the court may question a parent's motives for relocating and make accusations of acting out of spite or revenge. Parents should weigh their motives for moving because everyone else will too.
  • Many times, a parent wants to move closer to family members who can provide a support system, or they may have a job offer with better pay elsewhere. Both parents must weigh the benefits against the impact on the child.

Indiana courts have established a comprehensive set of parenting guidelines to direct divorcing parents in a variety of issues they and their children face. Parenting time is covered, including overnight visits and holiday schedules. Courts define other expectations as well including communication, health care and educational needs.

The rise of single father households

Single motherhood is a topic with which many Americans are all too familiar -- while often not the simplest of situations, countless mothers are successful in raising one or more children entirely on their own. Single fathers, on the other hand, have been a largely ignored aspect of divorce and separation in Indiana in the past. Shifts in attitudes towards single-father homes could increasingly change the way society looks at single fathers and the stress they face when raising children alone.

It comes as no surprise that raising children solo can be incredibly challenging. An article in TIME magazine highlighted the biggest factors of stress, and, using a nationwide survey from the Harvard School of Public Health that polled 2,505 adults, showed that single parents face significant burdens in the home. With 35 percent of those surveyed admitting to this stress, it is evident that single parents often spin more plates than parents living together and raising children. The survey showed an equal percentage of parents with teenagers experiencing stress, making clear that those raising children singlehandedly face multiple stress factors.

Parental rights in complex situations

Determining parental rights in any case can be complex, but what if those involved are guilty of sexual assault?  A topic under scrutiny in today's world is that of parental rights of rapists -- seven states in the country have no laws keeping rapists from seeing their children. Yet what is the outlook on this controversial law, and will Indiana see major changes in the future?  

CNN weighed in on the complicated issue of parental rights for those guilty of rape in an article last November, acknowledging that the laws surrounding the topic are slow and difficult. For instance, Maryland has been working on a law that allows for victims to terminate their attackers' rights, but the law's progress has taken years. Other states that have intervened on these situations have only done so in the past year or two; many of these states require that a person is convicted of rape before any action against parental rights can take place. And as with most laws, the details of this requirement vary from state to state. Some states refuse to apply these parental rights laws if the rape took place when the victim was married to the attacker. CNN adds that, in some areas, time is of the essence: Indiana law holds that a victim must petition to have her attacker's parental rights terminated less than three months after the child's birth. The only exception for this regulation is if the victim is under the age of 18. 

Single mothers in indiana and the options

The meaning of divorce can vary depending on a wide range of factors. Some Indiana families jump easily over the obstacles of finding a new home, completing mounds of paperwork, dividing assets, and in many cases, taking care of children. But some experience months, and even years, of distress. The issue of child support may always be a controversial one, but support in regards to single mothers is a relatively new focus in the public eye. 

The trials countless young mothers face can seem endless, but in Indiana, that problem may have a solution. WISH-TV covered news of a group that began discussing ways to best assist young, single mothers who need help becoming independent. As of 2014, the popular consensus favored the idea of helping mothers in need, especially those in early stages of adulthood. The group, The Womens Fund of Central Indiana, intended to broaded their focus of fundraising to mothers aged 19 to 24 -- mothers at the highest risk of unsteady employment and insufficient family income. WISH-TV also mentioned another local womens' support group called Project Home Indy, a program that houses and helps stabilize young mothers and their children.  

Don't let social media ruin the outcome of your divorce

Getting divorced can be a frustrating and isolating process. You may feel like no one is on your side, and that the odds are stacked against you. However, there are certain things you can do (or avoid doing) to improve your chances of a positive outcome in a divorce. Changing your attitude about social media is one of the most important.

Social media is an amazing tool. It allows you to connect instantly with people and share any personal thought you want to validate. You need to be very careful about how you use it during your divorce. Failing to do so could impact the asset division process or even decisions about child custody.

Understanding who covers the kids' healthcare costs

The emotions felt between divorcing couples in Indianapolis tend to run high give the circumstances surrounding the termination of their marriages. Yet despite any negative feelings they may have towards their ex-spouses, divorcing dads still typically maintain a strong love for their kids. It is that same love that buoys them in their efforts to offer continued support to their children. One area of support that must be considered is their kids' ongoing healthcare needs. Information shared by Becker's Hospital Review shows that as recently as 2014, $3 trillion was spent on healthcare in the U.S. The need to cover children's healthcare expenses is apparent; the question is who is primarily responsible for it following a divorce? 

According to the Indiana Rules of the Court, parents are obligated to obtain healthcare coverage (at a reasonable cost) for their children. Typically, the party responsible to carry such coverage is the one that can secure it at the least cost. In some cases, that may not be the noncustodial parent. If one parent has a history of frequently changing jobs or health insurance providers, the court may order both parents to carry insurance for their kids. In any event, the parent providing healthcare coverage are required to furnish the other with proof of it in order to avoid potential tax penalties imposed under the Affordable Care Act. 

Why a QDRO matters in a divorce

If you are getting divorced in Indiana and believe that you will need to split your 401K account or other employer-sponsored retirement fund with your spouse, you will want to learn about the qualified domestic relations order.

The U.S. Department of Labor explains that without a QDRO in place, you may be at risk of paying very high penalties and taxes when splitting your retirement fund in a divorce. The reason centers around who is authorized to receive money from your account and when payments may be made. Generally any money taken out of a 401K account by you for reasons other than retirement are subject to early withdrawal fees as well as income tax.

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