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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

The risks of informally stepping in to raise your grandkids

As a parent, you often do anything and everything you can to support your child in their struggle for a successful life. If your child has run into unexpected hardships, you may have to take over some of their responsibilities. For example, severe addiction, incarceration due to criminal charges or extreme medical conditions could all lead to a parent being physically or legally unable to care for their children.

You love your child, and you love your grandchildren as well. It is only natural to want to step in and assume those important parental duties when your child cannot perform them. While stepping up immediately to fill that role is the kind and natural thing to do, an informal arrangement will not offer you or the children much protection.

Signs experts say indicate divorce is on the horizon

Indiana residents may be interested in hearing what some indicators are that could mean a person is headed for divorce. People reach a point in their life where they feel like they might want to get divorced, but they still have doubts. They appreciate that divorce will change their life, so it's not a decision that they want to make quickly.

One sign that experts point to is not eating meals together. This could seem like a relatively minor issue, but it could indicate something bigger is going on in the marriage. There are a number of excuses couples use for not eating together. It could be that one partner has a different work schedule from the other. But whatever the excuse, it is usually an indication that the married couple is living a life that is disjointed, and this can lead to divorce.

How can military parents handle visitation?

As parents in Indiana who have decided to get a divorce, a lot of the decisions that will follow must be centered on your children. One big potential issue is that of visitation rights and schedules. This can be a source of conflict and stress for many families, especially for those in the military.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says that many states already have provisions in place for situations in which one or both people involved in a divorce are active members of the military. If you are actively in the military or other armed forces, then you likely won't be able to create or stick with a visitation schedule in the same way that non-military parents would be able to. Your schedule is likely subject to change along with your deployment and location at any given time.

How should we tell the kids about our divorce?

When contemplating the prospect of ending a marriage, it is understandable for parents in Indiana to struggle with how the event may impact their children and how they should even tell their kids about a divorce. Breaking the news about any major life change may be difficult but there are clear steps parents can take to help their kids and set up an open line of communication for the following time.

Some parents who have multiple children, especially across a wide range of ages, may think they would need to have individual conversations with each child about the divorce. While this may be important and appropriate eventually, when it comes to the initial conversation and telling the kids about the divorce at the outset, Parents magazine suggests otherwise. When one child knows major information before the others, it can put a burden on that child to keep a secret from their siblings. A family meeting avoids this.

How can I help my child when I move out?

If you are a parent in Indiana who has agreed with your spouse that you will get a separation or a divorce, the well-being of your children is likely at the top of your list of concerns. Many couples keep one parent and the kids in the family home at least to start with. This means the other parent has to move out of the home. You may have agreed to be the parent who leaves the house. This will be hard for you and for your kids but there are some things you can do to help them through this process.

As explained by Parents magazine, giving your children appropriate notice about the upcoming move will help them avoid the unexpected shock associated with coming home one day, expecting to see you but finding out you are gone. The amount of time you give them should be appropriate to their age, with younger children being told closer to the move date than older children.

Your child's divorce won't end your grandparent relationship

Divorce is a difficult time not just for the two people ending their marriage but for the extended family that has grown up around the couple. Their children, as well as their parents and siblings, may feel the repercussions of a divorce. One of the most obvious issues is when someone's former spouse seeks and wins full custody of the children and then begins to deny other family members visitation with the kids.

Severing the relationship between a child and their extended family can do long-term harm, something that parents in the grips of an acrimonious divorce may not consider. Instead, they just want to cut everyone out of their life that reminds them of their ex, including the family members that have bonded with the children, such as aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Managing a new school year after a divorce

Indiana families who have experienced a divorce and are now in the midst of adjusting to a new school year will no doubt find that this school year feels distinctly different than the previous ones. Children as well as moms and dads will notice the changes and it is important for the parents to take steps to ease the transition and awkwardness to help kids focus on their school and social experiences, not their changing home lives.

The Washington Post explains that divorced or separated parents should collaborate on schedules and share appropriate details with their children's teachers, especially when their kids are still in elementary school. This can help to avoid confusion when one parent comes to pick a child up, but the teacher expects the other parent, for example. The goal should always be to avoid uncomfortable situations in which the child feels different or is inconvenienced by the fact that their parents are no longer married to each other.

Your divorce and your financial future

If you and your spouse in Indiana have been experiencing marital difficulties and you believe that ending your marriage may be the best thing for you, it is important that you approach your divorce in a pragmatic and smart way. This involves making sure you are fully versed about your marital financial situation and that you plan appropriately for your future single financial life. If you have not been the one in your marriage to handle money, now is the time to get involved and learn as much as you can.

As explained by Forbes, the more you know about your financial matters, the better prepared to make decisions during your divorce negotiations you will be. Some of the things that you should review include the expenses you might automatically think of like mortgage payments, utilities, grocery costs, car payments and regular costs for your kids like child care.

Are there advantages to adopting your grandchildren?

Gaining legal guardianship or custody of your grandchildren can be a challenging undertaking, in addition to sometimes being heartbreaking and frustrating. If you find yourself with the task of raising your grandchildren, you are not alone. Countless grandparents in Indiana and elsewhere are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren.

According to the Huffington Post, about 5.8 million children throughout the country live solely with their grandparents. Depending on the circumstances, your situation may be temporary or long-term, if not permanent. There are many reasons grandparents take on the responsibility to bring up their grandchildren, such as substance addiction, incarceration or domestic violence involving the children’s parents. The parents may struggle financially or be going through a divorce, which can also make it difficult to raise their children. In many unfortunate cases, one or both of the parents may have died.

How are student loans handled in a divorce?

It is not uncommon for people in Indiana to incur student loan debt when going to college. The amount of money that students often have to borrow even to just get an undergraduate degree can saddle them with debt for years after they have graduated. For students who pursue advanced or professional degrees, their student loan payments may extend decades and be akin to small mortgages. It is this reality that leads a lot of people to still have this debt when they get divorced.

If you are getting divorced and have student loan debt, your spouse might tell you that you are solely responsible for that debt. However, that may or may not be the case. As explained by The College Investor, several factors will contribute to whether or not student loans in your name become your solo debt or are split in some manner between you and your spouse.

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 guidance… Grandparent Rights
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