Dedicated Family Law Attorneys

Indianapolis Family Law Attorney

Call (317) 202-1163 for Compassionate and Experienced Family Law Services in Indiana

Family figures - family law attorneyLife is difficult when you’re dealing with family law matters. To protect yourself or loved ones and move forward, you need an Indianapolis family law attorney committed to resolving your family law issues. The Indianapolis family law attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP understand the emotional and legal difficulties you face. With our compassionate advocacy, deep understanding of the nuances of Indiana family law, and assertive family law litigation experience, we are ideally qualified to serve your legal needs in Indiana family law matters.

How an Indianapolis Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you need help handling a family law issue, an Indianapolis family law attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP is ready to lend you a helping hand. Family law matters like divorce, child custody, and paternity have the potential to change your life forever, and we know how stressful and overwhelming that can be. We wish to help by providing you with superior legal guidance, so that you can experience a smooth transition into the next chapter of your life with confidence.

Understanding what Indiana law says about your legal questions is key to preparing for court and protecting your rights. That’s why you need an Indianapolis family law attorney with experience litigating Indiana family law matters. Keffer Hirschauer LLP is a litigation firm dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients. Our litigation experience and knowledge of family law make us your go-to partner for domestic relations matters.

Indiana family law matters include a variety of domestic relations areas. While divorce, custody, and child support issues are often first to mind, we are ready to handle all your family law needs:

Understanding what Indiana law says about your legal questions is key to protecting your rights and your loved ones. To protect yourself and your family, contact an Indianapolis family law attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP as soon as possible to learn how the law applies to your family and situation.

Wish to discuss your family law matter with us? We're here to listen and help. Call us at (317) 202-1163 for a free case evaluation.

Indiana Family Law Matters: What Is Covered?

Indiana family law matters include any type of domestic relations issue that is governed by Indiana law. Many understand the basics of Indiana divorce law, but few realize the broad sweep of Indiana family law. In the simplest terms, a court’s final order or decree applies until it is modified or changed. For example, when an order or decree pertains to minor children, it may apply until the child is well past the age of majority, depending on the circumstances.

Indiana law controls domestic relationships after they end and even while they are intact in a variety of areas:

  • Preventive measures, such as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Ending a marriage through divorce and legal separation, including matters of Indiana child support, child custody, parenting time (visitation), and spousal maintenance
  • Modifying the terms of a divorce in Indiana
  • Consequences of conduct during and after a divorce in Indiana, including contempt and laws on relocating with children after a divorce
  • Paternity

For a divorce that takes place when a child is young, the parents may face decades of managing their post-breakup relationship and co-parenting matters. Having experienced legal counsel to anticipate your child’s future needs and the resolution of child-related disputes that may arise is critical to ensuring the smoothest transition and way forward for you and your family.

Divorce in Indiana

Every state passes its own laws governing the legal process for ending a marriage. Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, can be relatively simple and quick, depending on the circumstances, or filled with disputes so that it drags on. An experienced Indianapolis family law attorney can help you anticipate and manage disputes to keep the case from lasting longer than it needs to.

Getting divorced requires your attorney to be knowledgeable about more than just family law. Dissolution cases can involve real estate holdings, financial and retirement accounts, business interests, and child matters, to name a few. Your Indianapolis divorce attorney should have a firm grasp of the law in these and many other areas to effectively represent your interests.

Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the court does not consider the fault of either party in deciding whether to grant a divorce in Indiana or divide marital assets between the parties. However, there are factors that can affect the division of marital assets, such as if one spouse spent marital funds on a nonmarital partner.

An uncontested divorce in Indiana is a case in which the parties agree to the terms of the divorce. But even if you and your partner believe you agree on all of the issues, there are aspects to the division of your assets that most non-lawyers are unaware of. Even parties in agreement about their divorce should consult a divorce attorney who can make sure all necessary items are addressed and the appropriate documentation is filed with the court.

Whether you live in Indianapolis or in a different county, an Indianapolis family law attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP has the experience, knowledge, and skills to vigorously represent your interests in your divorce.

Collaborative Divorce

Spouses who are willing and able to work cooperatively through their divorce benefit from taking advantage of the collaborative divorce process. Instead of the adversarial, win-lose approach fostered by traditional litigation, the collaborative divorce process allows the parties to negotiate a mutually beneficial settlement of all divorce-related matters, such as the division assets and debts and child custody, support, and parenting time. Although a court case is still required to formalize the divorce, the work in a collaborative divorce takes place in private meetings between the parties, each obtaining guidance from his or her collaborative divorce attorney and other professionals as needed.

If you and your spouse are committed to working out the details of creating separate households without litigation, collaborative divorce may be right for you. Your Indianapolis family law attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP recognizes the vast benefits of collaborative divorce for the right parties. With formal training on the process, we are ready help you make your new start in a positive, cooperative way.

Legal Separation

Spouses who find living together too difficult but are not ready for divorce have an option in legal separation. Legal separation allows spouses to legally separate their financial and other marriage-related affairs for a period of time before deciding whether to reconcile or divorce. The process for legal separation is similar to that for divorce proceedings, which begin by filing a petition for legal separation in the court of the county where one of the spouses lives. If the parties have children, the court handling the separation matter will also issue an order establishing child custody, child support, and parenting time rights and obligations.

Every Indianapolis family law attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP has years of experience helping family law clients understand their options, what legal separation offers, and when it is useful for dealing with marital problems.

Child Custody, Child Support, and Parenting Time

When there are children involved, a divorce takes on an entirely new aspect. Your divorce will need to address Indiana child support, child custody, and parenting time (visitation). Indiana law and related rules govern what you and your child’s other parent can and must do for the benefit of your child or children.

Child custody proceedings may arise in a divorce or other proceedings, such as a paternity case. The term “child custody” describes the right to make decisions regarding a child’s health, education, religious upbringing, and general welfare. Sometimes called legal custody, child custody is often confused with parenting time, which pertains only to the schedule of when the child lives with each parent.

Child support can be a controversial matter in a divorce, paternity action, or other family law matter. The Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines govern the payment of child support based on each parent’s gross income and child-related expenses. Disputes can arise about what income should be considered for determining child support in Indiana, how to calculate support for irregular income, and the allocation of financial responsibility for child-related costs outside of support.

Parenting time, also called visitation, is the legal term for a court order setting out when the child of divorced parents will spend time (live with or visit) each parent, both during the divorce proceedings and after a divorce in Indiana is final. Indiana Code title 31, article 17 governs parenting time. A parenting time order may be included in a court order entered during divorce proceedings, the final divorce decree, or both.

Parents are usually free to agree to a parenting time schedule that is agreeable to both parties. When you and your former partner cannot agree, the court often uses the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines to create a parenting time schedule. Assuming that frequent contact with each parent is usually in the child’s best interests, the Guidelines schedule alternates the child’s time with each parent as well as alternating the schedule on major holidays; family days such as birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day; and school breaks.

Indiana child support, child custody, and parenting time issues are often contentious. An Indianapolis family law attorney can help you understand your rights and the rights of your children on these issues that can greatly impact your family.

Interstate Custody Matters

When parents are no longer a couple, one or both may relocate outside of the state that issued the divorce decree, paternity order, or other family law case with a child custody order. When one or both parents no longer reside in the state that issued the order, Indiana’s Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) guides courts and parties on which state has jurisdiction to address child custody questions for interstate parents and caretakers. Determinations about which state has authority to enforce or modify a custody or parenting time order requires careful application of the UCCJA on a case-by-case basis.

Parents, guardians, and other caretakers need to work with a knowledgeable and skilled interstate custody lawyer at Keffer Hirschauer LLP to protect their rights to the child and the child’s best interests.

Spousal Maintenance in Indiana

A divorce brings new or worsened financial stress, especially for a spouse without an independent income. In such cases, that spouse may petition the court for spousal maintenance. Unlike alimony, the court may order spousal maintenance for a defined period of time. Be sure to work with knowledgeable counsel to help you get the maintenance you’re entitled to.

When one spouse is without means to support him- or herself or the parties’ assets, such as a house, car, or insurance, during the divorce proceedings, a court may order the other spouse to pay support pendente lite, meaning support paid while the divorce case is proceeding.

The ability to make ends meet after a divorce is final is often a major source of worry as well. An Indianapolis family law attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you evaluate your financial situation and fight for your right to pendente lite and spousal maintenance.

High Asset Divorce

Some divorces are more complex due to the nature of the assets the spouses own, individually or together. In these divorces, one or both spouses may have significant assets or assets whose value is not readily ascertainable from a routine financial statement, and disputes can arise over not just the value of the asset but also how to determine its value. Litigation may even be required to determine which assets are so separate from the marriage that they should not be subject to division in the divorce.

If your divorce is likely to involve significant assets, assets with interests difficult to value, or investments or interests that are difficult to value, you need an Indiana high asset divorce attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our family law litigators are respected throughout the state as knowledgeable about complex divorce matters and fiercely protective of their clients’ rights.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements in Indiana

Some couples are well-served by spelling out their respective rights in a contract in the event the relationship were to end. Depending on when it is executed, such an agreement may be a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is executed before the marriage, and a postnuptial agreement is executed after the marriage but as a condition of continuing the marriage.

The purpose of either type of agreement is to create an enforceable contract that sets out the parties’ rights and obligations if the marriage later ends. Clearly, would-be or current spouses are generally ill-equipped to prepare such a document themselves, and publicly available form documents may not be enforceable in Indiana.

Whether you are getting married or are trying to protect yourself before agreeing to continue your marriage, the Indianapolis family law attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help when you’re considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Modification of Court Orders

Court orders are effective for as long as stated in the order or as long as the condition that triggered the order lasts. Over time, circumstances may change, making the directive in the order or decree no longer the best solution. Examples of changed circumstances include:

  • A substantial change in income of one parent as it relates to an Indiana child support order
  • A substantial change in the living arrangements of one parent or another as it relates to a child custody or parenting time order
  • A material and willful failure by one spouse or former spouse to abide by the terms of an existing court order or divorce decree

If you think your situation has changed to the extent that a divorce court order or a term in the divorce decree are no longer appropriate, you may be entitled to modification of the order or decree.

Contempt

Parties must follow court orders whether or not they agree with them. Divorce proceedings and post-dissolution issues can involve access to children, support that helps a soon-to-be former spouse to make ends meet, the ability to keep up with bills—all matters that can be highly emotional and subject to disagreements. Failure to comply with a divorce court order can harm the other party—and the parties’ children—emotionally or financially.

There are repercussions when a party in a divorce or other family law case fails or refuses to comply with a court order. If the court becomes aware, it can find the noncompliant parent in contempt of court for such disobedience. After making that finding, the court can attempt to remedy the situation by revising the order at issue, ordering the noncompliant party to pay costs, or even ordering that party to serve a jail term.

For families in central Indiana, a family law attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you invoke the court’s help to make your former partner compliant.

Relocation

Parenting time orders are based on the circumstances that existed at the time the court entered them. One parent’s plan to relocate may make the existing orders difficult or even impossible. For this reason, Indiana family law requires a parent with a parenting time (visitation) order to give notice of the intent to move. If the other parent files an objection, then the court may have the parties present their arguments in a hearing. If the court approves the relocation, it may simultaneously revise the parenting time schedule or even change the primary custodian, the parent with whom the child resides most of the time.

If you or your former partner are planning to relocate—either across town or to another state—you need a consultation with an Indianapolis family law attorney to find out how to handle your or your former partner’s plans for relocation.

Paternity

When a child is born outside of a marriage, the mother is known, but the father’s identity must be determined through legal proceedings in a paternity case. A paternity case may be filed jointly by the mother and the father, or either the mother or the father may individually file to have the father’s legal paternity established. Once paternity is established, the father has an obligation to provide financial support for the child, based on the same criteria as used in divorce cases, and the court will enter orders regarding legal custody and parenting time.

In Indiana, paternity cases are governed by Indiana Code title 31, article 14 and the legal cases that have interpreted those statutes. The family law attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you understand how the law applies in your situation and find answers for yourself and your child.

Grandparent Visitation

Family law matters extend beyond the nuclear family. Grandparents often have a significant relationship with their grandchildren and a significant role in their lives. Even those who are neither parent nor grandparent may have primary responsibility for the care and financial support of a child. The law recognizes the importance of grandparents and de facto custodians, providing a remedy for cases in which marital problems or the death of a parent impact a grandparent’s relationship with or access to a grandchild. A grandparent or de facto custodian can petition for an enforceable order establishing grandparent visitation with the child or children.

When circumstances affect the access of a grandparent or other non-parent, primary caregiver to a child or children, you need experienced legal counsel to make sure that the access granted is in the children’s best interests. An Indianapolis family law attorney from Keffer Hirchauer LLP can help make sure your rights are protected in this scenario.

Why You Need an Indianapolis Family Law Attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP

The law on divorce in Indiana is based on both statutes and case law. This makes it difficult for non-lawyers to determine their rights in Indiana family law matters. For an Indianapolis family law attorney who knows the law and is dedicated to championing your rights, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP. For a free and confidential consultation, call (317) 202-1163 or complete our online contact form.

For some of the best client-focused representation you need for your family law case, please don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible.

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