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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

When grandparents must raise their grandchildren

Indiana, along with multiple other surrounding states, has seen an unsettling increase in opioid addictions and overdoses in the last decade. Although some states have significantly worse statistics than others when it comes to addiction, countless Hoosier families have nevertheless been split apart due to the crisis.

As a result of the epidemic, the traditional family dynamic has shifted across the country. Grandparents -- initially having planned for retirement and beyond -- now must face the bleak reality of taking in grandchildren when their own children are struggling with addiction. Indiana is one of many states attempting to make a change for the better.

Fathers' rights and shifting family dynamics

Any kind of family problem can take a toll on Indiana residents, but divorce tends to unleash its own set of challenges. Those who find it difficult to determine child custody plans can easily feel discouraged or overwhelmed. A current concern in regard to these plans involves fathers' rights, as a movement has reached the spotlight in recent years. Does this movement take a progressive step forward when it comes to giving a more balanced child custody plan for parents? Many disagree on the subject, but in the meantime, countless fathers nevertheless struggle to find time with their own children.

While every social movement comes with its fair share of controversy, The New York Times comments on the ways the fathers' rights movement has not met expectations. The Times even accuses the movement for being misogynistic, calling out members for dismissing victims of domestic violence. Some fathers' rights activists claim that women perpetuate just as much violence against partners as their male counterparts, to which The Times heavily criticizes. 

Can fathers make decisions about special education?

When you and your wife get divorced in Indiana, you may wonder how this new situation will affect your child's special education. Most of the time, your custody arrangement determines whether you can still make decisions about special education.

According to, you and your ex-wife are both able to make decisions about your child's special education. If you have joint legal custody, both you and your ex-spouse can see your child's progress reports and be part of the Individual Education Program team. You will usually still be able to look over your child's education plan and learn about meetings in advance. Additionally, you typically retain access to all of this information and can make decisions about your child's special education when you have joint legal custody but not physical custody.

Tips for divorcing dads

It has long been a known reality in Indiana and around the country that many couples gut through marital difficulties to hold their families together for the holidays and then announce their plans to divorce in early January. Men who are in such a position this year may understandably be finding it hard to put on the good face at family events as they likely have concerns about what will happen when the divorce eventually gets underway. Among the top issues to be concerned about is what will happen to their relationships with their kids.

As explained by PsychCentral, it remains important for children to maintain connections to both parents after a divorce. For fathers who may end up having their kids less than half of the time, it may be quite difficult to verbally and emotionally support their kids' ties with their mother but it is nonethless important to do. This will help children feel safe to openly love and bond with both parents.

College student aid and financial reporting

Divorced parents in Indiana who have kids preparing to go off to college in the next few years should understand how higher education financial aid is applied for and which parent's financial details must be provided. As explained by Fast Web, students will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to be eligible for many scholarships, grants, student loans or work study programs.

In most cases, the student will be providing financial data about a parent as part of filling out the FAFSA. In the case of a divorced family, it is common that only one parent's financial details are required. The Federal Student Aid office does indicate, however, that even if a couple is divorced or separated but have chosen to remain living together, both parent's financial information must be included on the student's FAFSA.

Get ready for an active social life after divorce

The end of a marriage can signal more than just not having someone there to greet you when you get home. It begins a change in the social life that you've had in your marriage. This can be a challenge to work through, but there isn't any reason why you can't enjoy an active social life now.

One of the most important things that you need to remember is that you now represent only yourself and not your marriage. You aren't representing divorced people or anyone other that you. Here are some tips to help you get back out into the world:

Tax dependent status and divorce

Indiana parents who get divorced often end up with more to consider than they may have initially thought about. For many people, concerns center around when and how often they will get to see their children. Even in today's society, fathers especially need to focus on this in order to ensure that they do not get the short end of the stick here. In addition to this amount of time spent with their children contributing to positive parent-child relationships, it may also have financial ramifications for dads.

As explained by Student Loan Hero, only one parent is allowed to claim a child as a dependent on a tax return each year. Generally speaking, this is done by the parent who has either sole custody or with whom the child resides the majority of the year. This majority can be decided literally by one day. Fathers who logically would like to take advantage of this tax benefit may want to pursue agreements with their children's other spouses about sharing this credit.

Alienation of affection explained

Most in Indianapolis likely enter into their marriages thinking that they will last forever. In many cases, without the intervention of a third party, they may very well have. However, one spouse entering into a romantic relationship with another person is often a difficult blow for a marriage to overcome. One whose marriage ends due to such a relationship may harbor a heavy resentment towards whomever stole his or her spouse away. Such feelings may even prompt him or her to seek legal action

Is that possible? A legal concept exists known as alienation of affection. This occurs when one instigates romantic advances towards a person with the intention of diverting affection away from another who may have certain rights or claims to it (such as a spouse) and towards him or herself. It basically puts the blame for ending a relationship onto the party who intruded into it. Many have cited alienation of affection as grounds for initiating action against a former spouse's new partner. 

How can you establish paternity?

For fathers in Indiana, it's important to establish paternity. You won't have any legal say in the child's life without this, and divorcing parents will find it difficult to determine how to divide child custody time. There are four different methods that you can use to determine paternity with, including ways to establish paternity after a child has been born.

WikiHow states that there are many different legal courses of action for a father seeking to establish paternity. The easiest way is, of course, to be present at the birth of the child and to sign the child's birth certificate. If you do this, then you automatically have a say in custody and visitation rights in the event of a divorce. Your name can also be declared on the birth certificate if you aren't present at the time of your child's birth.

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.

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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