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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

How does divorce work in Indiana?

There was a time in Indiana and most other states where divorce was nearly unheard of and was only conducted with special dispensation. Now, however, the end of a marriage is more common and more laws deal with the various issues connected to it. Fortunately, anyone who wants a divorce generally has a road to get one.

How can people qualify for a divorce in Indiana?

Can Indiana grandparents apply for visitation rights?

Families used to be a lot closer, with many generations of a clan living on place among the more common residences in early America. Although family homes are generally smaller in scope now, the law still recognizes the closeness of family between more than one immediate generation.

  • What sort of rights did grandparents have?

Grandparents had more latitude to care for, adopt or have close relationships with their children's children in most of the 20th century. Washington State, for example, once gave courts the latitude to grant visitation rights to anyone who applied for them.

  • What about now?

Stay out of trial if you want control over custody

You and your spouse have been fighting over custody, and you want the fight to come to an end. You want your children to have a stable schedule and to know what to expect each day. You are tired of having to fight with your spouse and want to move forward with your divorce.

One option is to take your case to trial, but that's something that you will want to consider carefully before you choose to proceed. Fighting for custody in trial can be a losing battle, because the likelihood is that neither you or your spouse are going to get exactly what you want. It's generally better to work something out yourselves, because you can negotiate a plan that is as close to ideal as it's going to get.

"Gray divorce" carries financial consideration

A growing number of older couples in Indiana and across the country are choosing to end their marriages later in life. Nationally, the divorce rate for people 50 and older has doubled since 1990, at the same time when the rate has stayed stagnant or even declined for other generations. There are a number of reasons why more people are deciding to end their marriages in their golden years. People are living longer, healthier lives and want to enjoy their time, and parents who waited to separate until their kids were grown may now not care. In addition, older Americans are members of the same generation that changed social attitudes about divorce overall.

However, there are also important financial considerations that may be particularly important to keep in mind in the case of gray divorce. In the first place, retirement savings often represent one of the largest assets held by these couples. Dividing a retirement plan can be complicated, and many require a specialized court order called a qualified domestic relations order.

Keeping cool and collected during the divorce process

People in Indiana who decide to divorce may be tempted to seek revenge against their former spouse, especially when the end of the marriage involves complex issues like infidelity or addition. Both spouses may feel a great deal of anger and pain, and they may be tempted to transfer that emotional reaction to the divorce case. However, there may be good reasons for people to process their emotions with friends or a therapist while remaining cool and collected during the divorce proceedings.

First of all, the divorce process may be more stressful when both parties are actively arguing. Many family courts will encourage the spouses to negotiate a settlement, and it can be important for both parties to assess the offers on the table with a clear mind rather than an eye toward anger against their former spouse. Second, parents filing for divorce will need to move forward into a new co-parenting relationship in the future. Unless there is a history of abuse or neglect, both parents will likely share some form of custody or visitation. Regardless of their personal feelings about their relationship, they will need to work together to make important decisions about their children for years to come.

How parents can help their kids to get through a divorce

Indiana parents who decide to divorce often worry about how their children will be affected by the separation. While divorce takes an emotional toll on both spouses, it can also cause long-lasting emotional scars for the kids involved. However, the way that parents deal with the decision to split up can have a significant effect on how the children handle the situation. There are several ways parents can provide extra support to their children during and after the divorce process.

Some children might feel that they are to blame for their parents' divorce, especially if they overheard arguments about parenting and related issues. Parents can help to dispel these concerns by reassuring the children that the divorce had nothing to do with them. Absent a context of abuse or neglect, it's important for the children to spend time with both of their parents. Exes can aid this atmosphere by providing a safe space for children to express their frustration with the divorce. This may include letting the children vent to them as well as scheduling appointments with a counselor or therapist.

Structuring a post-divorce parenting plan

When Indiana couples decide to end their marriage, it can be an emotional process. It can be even harder when they have young children, and unless one of the parents has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse, most family law judges will award both parents liberal access to their offspring, following the "best interests of the child" maxim.

However, it is not necessary to have a court make a decision on child custody and visitation. Many couples, despite the differences that led to their becoming estranged, are able to negotiate a co-parenting plan on their own which they then submit to the court for its approval. In some cases, they might consider a shared physical custody arrangement that involves alternating weeks. However, while it is simple to arrange, this is not always best for the children.

Unmarried fathers can play a major role in the life of their kid

Custody isn't just an issue for married parents going through a divorce. It can also be a significant issue in cases where the parents of a child never married. Some men mistakenly think that if they didn't marry the mother of their child that they don't have the right to seek custody or visitation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The state of Indiana recognizes the critical role that a father can play in the life of his child. Regardless of the circumstances between you and the mother of the child, you could be a positive role model and help provide support and happiness.

The main reasons women file for divorce

Popular culture often portrays women as the victims of divorce, left by their philandering husbands after decades of faithful partnership. The truth, it turns out, is a much different picture. In the vast majority of cases, it is the wife who initiates a divorce. Most women in Indiana and across the country file for divorce for reasons that fit into these broad categories.

The first reason many women file for divorce is that they feel their marriage is holding them back. Most women are in the workforce and are contributing to their families financially. They may have found success in their careers and yet feel that they have to downplay it to uphold their husbands' egos. On top of contributing financially, studies show that women continue to handle most of the household chores.

Prenuptial agreements and when to insist on having one

A common source for squabbles and outright disputes in Indiana family law centers around the prospect of prenuptial agreements. The person asked to sign such an agreement is often offended at the implication that the marriage will not work out or that he or she is looking to receive the other person's assets. From the perspective of the spouse who wants the document, it is designed to protect them in case the marriage fails.

Signing or not can be negotiable, but there are times when a person should insist on the prenuptial agreement. If it is a second marriage and there will be a blended family, a prenuptial agreement is a good idea. A person's assets, retirement accounts and more can be complicated. Disagreements between the former spouse and the new spouse can erupt. To avoid this, a prenuptial agreement can address concerns before they arise.

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