FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What if one of us does not want to get a divorce?
In Indiana, the law provides for a “no-fault” divorce. This means that if one party wants the divorce, the court will be obligated to grant it. Closely related to the “no-fault” system is the fact that the reasons why one party wants a divorce does not have any impact. Neither party is required to explain why they want the divorce.
What is physical custody?
Physical custody roughly equates to which parent is “home base” for the children. That is usually parent that has the children the greater majority of the time. The other parent will also have some parenting time. In joint custody, the parties agree to the parenting time split, even if one of them has primary physical custody.
If I get divorced who gets custody of the kids?
The issue surrounding the children include many things, including custody. It is difficult to summarize in a brief answer, but Indiana recognized two different types of custody – joint legal custody and sole custody. Joint legal custody means the parents share decision making authority for major life decisions, such as health care, religious upbringing and education. Sole custody means that the custodial parent makes those decisions.
If I get divorced, will I lose half my pension?
A necessary part of every divorce is dividing up assets and debts. The presumption under the law is that those are divided equally. Further, anything of value is subject to being divided. That includes future pensions, 401k Accounts, cars, home equity, bank accounts, and many other things. Thus, for your retirement account, whether it is a pension plan (payments at retirement) or a 401k (lump sum tax deferred retirement account), it is subject to being divided.
How long is support paid for a child?
While circumstances can vary, generally speaking child support ends no later than the child turning 19. However, if the child is out of school and living on his or her own before that age, it might be possible to end support sooner. Separate from support, however, is the question of college costs which could continue beyond age 19
Can a parent be ordered to pay for college?
Yes. Indiana gives the judge the discretion to require both parents to help contribute to a child’s college costs. While it is discretionary, it frequently occurs, especially if both parents have a college degree. Additionally, we find that most parents want to help their children, and the decision comes down to a question of how much each parent contributes. The child is expected to apply for financial aid to pay for part of the costs, and the parents share in the rest.
Do I need a prenuptial agreement?
Indiana Law does recognize the rights of parties to enter into prenuptial agreements, which is simply an agreement of how to divide up assets should the marriage end in divorce or at death. The agreement must be entered into before the wedding ceremony. It also should be done in sufficient time to allow both parties to fully read and understand the agreement, and contact an attorney to help review the agreement.
Does Indiana allow grandparent visitation rights?
Indiana does have a grandparent visitation statute. It limits grandparent’s rights to certain particular situations, and the type of visitation can vary greatly, but is often limited to a set time on an infrequent basis (for example, one day a month on a weekend). Your particular case can vary widely depending on the relationship and closeness of the grandparents to the children, and which set of grandparents is requesting time, the grandparents related to the custodian or the grandparents related to the non-custodial parent
If I get divorced, does it have to go to court?
No. In fact, most divorces are settled without having to go to court for a final contested hearing. There might be some preliminary hearings on temporary matters, however, often the courts will direct the parties to attend mediation, and most attorneys will reach out to the other side in an effort to resolve the case without court or mediation.
How much support is owed?
Child support in Indiana is controlled by two major factors. First, the parent who is “home based” or has the children the majority of the time is usually the parent that receives child support. The other parent will pay support based upon a formula provided for in the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. Support is based upon the income of each party, how much the health insurance for the children costs, and how much parenting time the other parent has. Also related to child support is the question of which parent gets the tax exemption.
What is mediation and when does it happen?
Mediation is a process where the parties get together with their attorneys and a neutral mediator. The mediator will try to help the parties find a solution to whatever issues remain in the case. Mediation usually does not happen immediately, but can happen whenever the parties have sufficient information to make their final decisions. Most attorneys feel mediation is an excellent way to resolve the case without the extra expense of motions and risks of going to court. Closely related to mediation is arbitration. With arbitration, you can select your own arbitrator (usually a lawyer who is a mediator and experienced in divorce law) to make decisions instead of going to a court fight. This often can be less expensive, and occur more quickly, than waiting for court.