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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

How can I make joint custody work?

Joint custody is preferred by most courts since it allows a child to form close bonds with both parents. Even under the best of circumstances, co-parenting can still be a challenge, especially when it comes to logistical concerns. Parents Magazine offers the following tips in this case so you can navigate common issues with ease. 

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Many factors may impact a custody decision

When parents choose to split up, it is usually difficult to reach a fair and satisfying child custody arrangement. Even in instances where both parents try to work together for the best interests of the child, the process is often emotionally, physically and financially draining. If parents have significant disagreements about how to raise their child, resolving child custody can become frustrating and may lead to decisions that are destructive for everyone involved.

In addition, courts do not allow parents to determine a custody arrangement entirely on their own. While it is preferred for parents to develop their own parenting and custody agreements, courts must ultimately approve parenting and custody agreements to ensure that they are in the child's best interests.

The divorced person's financial reality

If you are like many divorced or divorcing people in Indiana, you are aware that your financial situation is likely to be quite different after your divorce than it was while you were married. All of a sudden, two households must be supported on the same income amount that supported only one before. On top of that, you might be ordered to pay child support or spousal support every month. As much as you might want to join your friends for an evening out, you can feel pulled to stay in because you cannot afford the luxuries of going out as often as you used to.

These are just some of the realities that may contribute to why many divorced people avoid talking about their financial matters with friends or family members. According to a CNBC Invest in You and Acorn Savings Survey, more than half of all respondents who have been divorced indicated that they do not share details of their financial situation with others. It is believed that a feeling of shame or embarrassment may contribute to this.

Support for grandparents raising grandkids

For many adults in Indiana, they can look back on their lives with fond memories of at least one grandparent who played a special part in their life and development. The love that a grandmother or grandfather has for their grandchildren is special and the bond created between these generations can enhance the lives of both parties in unique ways. In most cases, it is expected that the grandparent can provide some education and nurturing without having to bear the responsibility of actually raising a child. However, for some families a grandparent does just this as well.

Psychology Today explains that data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the percentage of U.S. households led by grandparents raising kids doubled between 1970 and 2012. By the latter year, an estimated 2.7 million homes featured children being raised by at least one grandparent.

The many benefits of paternity leave

Any man in Indiana who has become a father knows how dramatically this event changes their lives. The world is simply never the same again once a person moves into the role of parent. To think that society for so long tried to keep fathers out of the parenting role to a large degree is a shame but that is changing. Whether married to a child's mother or not, taking paternity leave when a new baby arrives is important for dads and their new loves.

Research from Cornell University indicates that paternity leave is directly linked to more positive outcomes for children in the long term and a stronger father-child bond. In addition, when more dads take their paternity leave, they may be taking steps forward for gender equality in the workplace as well as at home.

Understanding when grandparents can vie for custody

In Indiana, there are laws used to determine matters of child custody and visitation rights for grandparents. In many cases, these laws can be more intricate and confusing than a person may be expecting, and it can actually be quite hard for a grandparent to gain custody in the end. However, it isn't impossible.

FindLaw takes a look at the custody requirements grandparents face if they want to fight for custody of a grandchild. Generally speaking, the easiest way for a grandparent to gain custody of a grandchild is if both of their birth parents are deceased. Otherwise, courts usually default to the notion that the child should remain with their parents, or remaining parent.

Facts about grandfamilies in Indiana

If you are a grandparent in Indiana who either has custody of your grandchildren or who is seeking how to get custody of your grandchildren, it can be helpful for you to know that you are not alone. Certainly, most people do not assume that they will need to raise their grandchildren but there can be many situations that necessitate this. These include the premature death of a parent, substance abuse, mental illness and more. Regardless of the reason, grandparents can and often do step in to provide the stability and support children need.

As explained by, more than 110,000 children under the age of 18 lived with their grandparents in Indiana as of the spring of 2017. That accounts for seven percent of all kids statewide.

A comprehensive parenting agreement is essential

Most divorcing couples are able to resolve disagreements before their case heads to court. This is typically the result of some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation.

While there are many details to work through, those associated with child custody are often the most important. A comprehensive parenting agreement is essential to the future well-being of you, your ex and your children.

Do grandparents' visitation rights change after adoption?

If you are a grandparent seeking the legal right to visit your grandchildren, you likely know that Indiana grants you the option to petition for visitation. There are several different factors that may affect a court's ruling on your petition. For example, if you are a paternal grandparent to a child born out of wedlock, a court usually cannot grant you visitation rights without your son establishing paternity of the child. If a court grants you visitation rights, there may be changes to your situation if someone adopts the child.

According to state law as listed on the website of the Indiana General Assembly, adoption may have an effect on your visitation rights as a grandparent. Your established visitation rights may survive if a stepparent adopts the child. Additionally, visitation rights may survive your grandchild's adoption by a biological relative, such as a grandparent, niece, nephew, sibling, uncle or aunt. However, if a person without a biological relationship to your grandchild adopts him or her, your visitation rights may change.

Overcoming challenges associated with raising a grandchild

Increasingly, grandparents across Indiana and many other states are finding themselves spending their “golden years” raising their own grandchildren, and if you are among them, you may understand all too well that doing so has its challenges. Maybe you are raising your grandchild because his or her parents have passed away and can longer do so, or perhaps you are looking to assume the responsibility because your grandchild’s parents are in jail, on drugs or what have you. Regardless of your reasoning for raising your grandchildren, Attorney Robert Schembs recognizes that there are certain challenges that often accompany the process, and he has helped many people in similar situations overcome these challenges and otherwise navigate complicated custody or visitation issues.

According to, more than 60,000 Indiana grandparents care for their grandchildren in their own homes, and many of them face similar hurdles in doing so. Often, older Americans who end up raising their grandchildren do so rather suddenly, leaving them little time to prepare for the transition. There are, however, some steps you can take as a grandparent to make the custody arrangement easier on everyone involved.

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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