How Our Bloomington Indiana Family Lawyers Can Help You
If you need help handling a family law issue, the Bloomington Indiana family lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are ready to lend you a helping hand. Legal matters like divorce, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance etc. have the potential to change your life forever. We know how stressful and overwhelming that can be and stand ready to help you. Our firm can offer superior legal guidance, extensive litigation experience, and a passion for protecting our clients and their loved ones.
Ready to make a smooth and confident transition into the next chapter of your life? Contact the Bloomington Indiana family lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP today. Schedule your free consultation by calling us at 317-857-0160 or completing our online contact form.
Bloomington Indiana Family Lawyers for Divorce
Not only is getting a divorce in Bloomington an emotional hardship, but it can also have ripple effects that impact many elements of your day-to-day life. It can affect where you live, where the kids live, and where the kids go to school; or it may mean finding a new bank account, purchasing a new car, or more simply, redefining yourself for this next chapter in life. Dealing with all of this, plus the legal and financial elements of a divorce, can be difficult. But you don’t have to go through all this alone. An experienced, empathetic attorney can help you identify and handle all the necessary issues surrounding the divorce. You can count on them to ensure that everything is being accounted for so that you can spend more time preparing for this next chapter in your life.
The Bloomington Indiana family lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have a wealth of experience representing Hoosiers through every stage of the divorce process. Whether you’re pursuing a simple, uncontested divorce, or need someone to help you navigate the murky waters of a complex, contentious divorce, we can provide you with both a listening ear and expert representation. With Keffer Hirschauer LLP at your side, you can rest assured that your case is in trustworthy, professional hands.
Equitable Distribution vs. 50/50 Divorce in Indiana
Those in the process of filing for divorce in Indiana often wonder, Is Indiana a 50/50 Divorce State? The answer is no; Indiana is not a 50/50 divorce state. Indiana (like most other states) requires an equitable distribution of property between divorcing parties. This means that the court will determine what constitutes a fair division of marital property by weighing out various factors.
Per Indiana Code 31-15-7-2, equitable distribution is determined by evaluating each party’s needs, income or earning potential, and overall contribution to the marriage. The court could also consider other factors too, such as length of the marriage, property brought into the marriage by each party, the allocation of child-rearing responsibilities (if applicable), the tax basis of property received in the divorce, the tax consequences of the various distributions, and allocation of debt.
The Difference between Indiana Alimony and Spousal Maintenance
In the past, Indiana alimony laws were based on factors like the length of the marriage, the respective age of each party, and their education levels. Under this system, alimony orders lacked time limits and the courts had more freedom in granting orders. Therefore, when a couple divorced following a lengthy marriage, the court could order the wealthier spouse to make a large alimony payment for many years.
Today, in lieu of alimony in Indiana, a divorcing party may seek a spousal maintenance order. Like alimony, an Indiana spousal maintenance order requires one spouse to pay support to the other after the divorce. However, these orders are only awarded in limited circumstances and, depending on the circumstances, limited in their duration. Per Indiana Code 31-15-7, spousal maintenance can only be awarded by a trial court in one of three scenarios:
- When a spouse is incapacitated;
- When a spouse is a caregiver for an incapacitated child; or
- When a spouse requires support in order to acquire education or training to get a job
If you are fighting to receive spousal maintenance in Indiana (formerly known as Indiana alimony), the laws will present you with an uphill battle. Therefore, you will need an Indiana attorney who has a thorough understanding of the Indiana divorce laws. The spousal maintenance lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have the experience, litigation skills, and required understanding of Indiana divorce law to advocate for your right to be independent and self-sustaining in this next chapter of your life.
Matters Related to Child Custody in Bloomington
Given the implications of child custody orders, it’s not uncommon for these matters to create additional conflict between two divorcing parties, and ultimately take center stage in a divorce proceeding. However, understanding the crucial differences between legal and physical custody prior to entering the courtroom may ease some of the tension.
The Bloomington Indiana family lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can ably manage your child custody matters and help you move forward with your life. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced child custody lawyers to learn how we can help protect your rights as a parent.
Legal Custody and Parenting Time in Indiana
One common point of confusion about child custody is the difference between legal and physical custody, otherwise known as parenting time in Indiana. Although these two terms are not directly related, the may impact one another.
Generally, the parent who has legal custody is responsible for making important, long-term decisions about the child’s life. When a parent has sole legal custody, as opposed to joint-legal custody, they can make decisions about the child’s life without considering the wishes or opinions of the other parent.
Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to which parent the child is staying with at any given time, in accordance with the parenting time schedule. Most often, the parenting time schedule, or child visitation schedule, is determined between the two parents as part of their settlement agreement in a divorce.
In situations where an agreement is not found between the two parents, the court may determine the schedule using the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. When courts determine the parenting time schedule using the guidelines, there is no presumption in favor of a particular schedule. Instead, they find that it’s in the child’s best interest to have frequent and meaningful contact with each parent.
Bloomington Indiana Family Lawyers For Modifying Parenting Time
When an Indiana parenting time order has been made, that order shall be enforced until a modification has been granted by the court. The parenting time laws contained Indiana Code 31-17-4-2 states that “courts may modify an order granting or denying parenting time rights whenever modification would serve the best interests of the child.” However, the law further clarifies that “courts shall not restrict a parent’s parenting time rights unless the court finds that the parenting time might endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development.”
Given the Indiana parenting time laws, a parent who wants to make a modification of parenting time in Indiana would need to submit a petition to the court that presided over the original parenting time order. Many parents who seek a modification are tempted to simply download the petition documents online, complete them and send them to the court. However, it’s highly recommended that parents first consult with an Indiana child custody attorney.
The experienced Bloomington Indiana Family lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are well-versed in the process of modifying parenting time orders. We always prepare the petitioner for court and help develop a strong argument demonstrating why a modification to parenting time is warranted. If you’d like to speak with an attorney today, call us at 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Matters Related to Child Support in Bloomington
Child support, as defined in Indiana Code 31-16-6-1 is an action that an Indiana court may order stipulating that either parent or both parents must pay a reasonable amount of money for the support of a child/children. These are most often made once a divorce proceeding has been initiated and then once again in the final divorce decree and judgment, without regard to marital misconduct.
Generally, Indiana child support is intended to cover the costs of supporting the child/children. This includes housing, food, clothing, educational expenses, work-related childcare costs, insurance premiums, etc. Extraordinary costs – such as emergency medical costs or extracurricular fees – may be factored into child support as well. However, these can be divided between the parents, often in proportion with each parent’s weekly income.
Determining Child Support in Indiana
In the course of making a child support order, Indiana courts determine who must pay child support and to what extent. To make this determination, the courts use the child support formula contained within the Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines.
Based on the costs or numbers associated with each of the factors in graphic above, the amount of child support is determined by referencing the Guideline Schedules for Weekly Support Payments prior to completing a final calculation using the Indiana Child Support Worksheet.
The final calculation of child support in Indiana computes the total amount required to support the parties’ child or children and allocates each parent’s child support obligation. Each parent’s obligation is based on his or her proportionate gross income and child-related expenses paid.
If you want to estimate of what your weekly child support payment may be, you can explore the Child Support Calculator on the Indiana Courts website. The calculator will require you to answer some questions about your children, income, parenting time, health care and other costs. Once those are added, it will provide you with an estimate, save your calculations for later use, easily share your calculations with other parties, and if needed, produce forms for use in court.
Bloomington Indiana Family Lawyers For Modifying Child Support
One of the most common questions about child support in Indiana is: Can I modify a child support order? The answer is, yes. Child support orders in Indiana can be modified but there are certain rules that determine when one can modify, and which factors warrant modification.
Generally, Indiana child support orders can only be modified if a change has occurred in one of the parent’s lives which has rendered the current order unreasonable. Furthermore, the current order must be at least 12 months old, and the modification requested is at least 20% of the current order.
In situations where the change is significant and ongoing, a party can petition the court to change the support order prior to the 12-month requirement. However, these situations are quite rare, and the change must truly be significant, such as catastrophic injury or the emancipation of the child.
Changes That May Warrant Modification of an Indiana Child Support Order:
- Loss of employment
- Health complications
- Remarriage of the custodial parent
- Cost of living increased
- Custody arrangement has been altered
- Child has been emancipated
If your former partner is arguing that your promotion or his/her loss of employment warrants an immediate increase in child support, then you’ll need the help of one of our experienced Bloomington Indiana family lawyers to implore the court examine the circumstances and whether it’s appropriate to modify the Indiana child support order.
Want to Speak with One of Our Bloomington Indiana Family Lawyers?
Understanding what Indiana law says about your legal questions is key to preparing for court and protecting your rights. If you have further questions related to family law in Indiana, the Bloomington Indiana family lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are available to speak with you. Schedule your free consultation today by calling us at 317-857-0160 or completing our online contact form.