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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

Keeping kids connected with grandparents

Indiana residents who get divorced while their chidren are still young know that they will need to help their children manage emotionally through the changes that the divorce might bring. The level of support needed does not only last while the divorce is in process but continues afterwards as well. One big change kids may face is an adjustment in their extended family relationships.

As explained by Psychology Today, it has become more widely acknowledged that strong relationships with grandmothers and grandfathers can be very positive for children. After a divorce, kids already have to navigate changes in time with their parents so it can be helpful to them to have good connections to grandparents. In fact, many suggest that increasing education to parents about the importance of these bonds may benefit kids and grandparents alike.

Apps may aid co-parenting

If you are getting divorced from your spouse in Indiana and you have young children together, you are no doubt wondering how in the world you will be able to work together to raise your kids when you could not find a way to stay married. Certainly, coparenting can be a challenge for divorced couples regardless of how long they have been divorced but especially for newly divorced people. 

Fortunately for you there are several apps or online tools available today that may just make the job easier than you think. As explained by Very Well Family, there are numerous tools each with a different set of features so you can find the one that offers what you need. Some of the things these apps offer is a centralized calendar for everything from school schedules to medical appointments to visitation schedules and more.

Indiana fathers can modify custody arrangement after divorce

People react differently to the process of divorce. Some people become angry and aggressive, fighting with their exes at every step. Other people become depressed and even passive, despite typically being assertive people.

If you did not anticipate your spouse filing for divorce, the shock and sadness may have resulted in less than optimal decision making. Sometimes people fall into a slump where they lose jobs or end up drinking more than they should during a divorce. Other times, people simply agree to any terms proposed by their spouse in the hope of speeding things up.

New bill would widen grandparents' rights

The grandparent/grandchild relationship typically is a very special one with a positive impact on both sides of the relationships. Grandparents in Indiana would likely agree that these relationships are as important to them as they are to the grandchild. When a child’s parents decide to divorce, it is natural to have concerns about whether this special tie will continue—or be allowed to continue.

Psychology Today explains that the role of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren is being widely studied for its importance and its impact on the lives of all involved. It is part of each person’s identity and plays a significant part in their daily lives.

Cars collide in custody dispute

Feuding couples looking to get a divorce in Indianapolis may think that such an action effectively ends their associations with each other. However, that may rarely be the case. If a couple has children together, then they may have to continue to work together to sort out the issue of child custody. Given the level of emotion that the parties in a divorce case already may feel towards each other (coupled with the love that both may have for their children), it may be easy to see why child custody cases can become so contentious. The hope is that parents can keep such contention between themselves and not involve the kids.

Sadly, that did not happen in a recent case involving an assault between two parents in Texas. The mother (apparently incensed over a custody issue) pursued the father in her own vehicle after he had driven away from her residence. During the pursuit, she allegedly threw an object at his car while also ramming his vehicle twice on the rear passenger side and once in the back. Law enforcement authorities later found the woman, and despite her insistence that she never intended to harm her kids' dad, she was arrested for assault with a motor vehicle. 

Modifying a child support obligation in Indiana

Most divorcees in Indianapolis likely have no issue paying child support. Their love for their kids (along with their desire to ensure that the kids have all that they need) often prompts such parents to want to continue to support them. However, as time passes, one's financial circumstances may change. For example, a father paying child support might see his working hours reduced, resulting in a cut to his income. How is he, then, to continue to meet his child support obligation while also supporting himself (as well as any new dependents he now may have)? 

A solution is available in the form of a child support modification. Per the Indiana Office of Child Support Enforcement, a party may petition to have his or her obligation changed if the order mandating child support is at least 12 months old and if the amount that would be owed given his or her current circumstances (as determined by the state's guidelines) differs from the current order by at least 20 percent. The other scenario in which a modification may be warranted is if either party experienced a significant and continuing change in his or her financial circumstances. Such changes may include: 

  • A career change 
  • A parent being incarcerated
  • A parent becoming disabled
  • A parent remarrying and gaining new dependents

What is the fathers' rights movement?

Gone are the days when divorcing fathers in Indiana and elsewhere could automatically expect courts to award full custody of children to their mother. As the fathers’ rights movement of the past several decades has become more and more visible, it has also advanced the case for shared custody, and today’s family court decisions reflect these ongoing societal changes. That does not mean that shared custody is a given, however. Fathers still need to assert their interests, and their rights, in remaining a part of their children’s lives.

Verywell Family explains that, despite a general perception that men are not interested in parenting, fathers do indeed want to remain active in parenting their children following divorce. They want to be present and teach them responsibility, life skills and help encourage their children as they move toward adulthood. There are several organizations that soon-to-be ex-husbands can tap into for support, education and help developing co-parenting plans.

Is spoiling your grandkids undermining their parents' authority?

Many in Indianapolis often joke that privilege of spoiling your grandkids is your reward for not killing their parents when they were the same age. If you are like most grandparents, you likely revel in getting to participate in all of the fun things your kids do while avoiding all of the difficult parenting moments. Part of that fun includes spoiling them with treats, toys or whatever else they want or you think they might love. Your willingness to do so is certainly understandable; after all, according to the American Association of Retired Persons, Baby Boomers have the highest median household income of any U.S. demographic. Yet is spooling your grandkids undermining their parents' authority? 

The answer is likely situational. If you are out on an excursion with your grandchildren and they want ice cream or a souvenir, it may be hard to argue that such spoiling is harmful. Yet if a grandchild approaches you asking for an expensive item (e.g., a new video game console or a cell phone), that is where you may want exercise caution. Often, he or she is only doing so because his or her parents have already told him or her know. Contact your adult child and ask him or her about the situation before simply buying whatever your grandchild wants yourself. You might want to do the same when purchasing gift for holidays or birthdays. 

2 warning signs that divorce is near

You and your spouse have been through thick and thin together. You might have the kind of history that makes you feel like your marriage will survive anything. However, even the strongest marriages can fail, and sometimes the reasons for those failure are not entirely clear.

You may wonder whether you and your spouse be able to overcome these hurdles or if it's time to call it quits.

Modifying your custody schedule

The hardest part of being a divorced dad in Indianapolis is the limited access you may have to your kids. From many on the outside looking in, your decision to get a divorce reflects an change in your attitude towards your entire family. What they do not understand is that while your feelings towards your children's mother may have changes, your love for them has not. Thus, you continually remain as protective of as you were prior to your divorce. That sense of duty to protect has prompted may to come to us here at Schembs Law question whether they can modify their custody or visitation agreements. If you have similar concerns about your kids, you'll be happy to learn that you can. 

Doing so many not be easy, however. Per Section 31-17-2-21 of Indiana's Family and Juvenile Law Code, your custody agreement can only be changed if it is believed to be in your kids' bests interests, and if you demonstrate a significant change has occurred in any of the familial areas the state believes impact your children's well-being. These include: 

  • Each child's individual relationship with you, your ex-spouse or his or her siblings
  • Each child's adjustment to his or her new home environment (as well as new school or community, if the kids have relocated)
  • The overall mental and physical health of all those involved in your custody case
  • Each child's age and sex
  • Evidence of any form of domestic or parental abuse

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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Robert Schembs
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