Indianapolis Divorce Lawyers
Keffer Hirschauer LLP Indianapolis Divorce Lawyers Can Help
Choosing to divorce is no easy decision. The end of a marriage can impact the entire family dynamic and lead to uncertainty and apprehension. If you are currently dealing with the life-changing choice of divorce in Indiana, please speak with the skilled Indianapolis divorce lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. We have earned a reputation for providing hard-hitting legal advocacy, even in handling the most complex divorce issues.
Request your free case evaluation by calling our firm at (317) 857-0160 or contacting us online.
Divorce is traumatic, even when both parties agree on all of the issues raised by parting ways. Getting divorced can touch on all areas of your life—where you live, where your children live, who gets the house, car, or bank account, to name a few. You need an experienced attorney you can count on to identify and deal with all necessary issues and help you move on to the next chapter in your life.
Give your case an edge by choosing Keffer Hirschauer LLP today. Our Indianapolis divorce lawyers have years of experience in representing individuals through every stage of divorce proceedings. Whether you are facing an uncontested divorce or need guidance as you work through a complex and contentious divorce in Indiana, we can provide a listening ear and a helpful hand. With us at your side, you can be confident that your case is in trustworthy, professional hands.
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What to Do Before You File for Divorce in Indiana
Most people don’t realize that some legwork is incredibly helpful before you file for divorce. Whether you and your partner agree on all divorce-related matters or you feel it is necessary to file for divorce before telling your spouse, making preparations before you file can only help. Knowing what to do is another matter entirely.
We know that every case is unique, but some issues are common to most divorces. Before proceeding with your divorce, you might need to consider things like these:
- Whether to discuss divorce with your spouse before filing
- Whether you know of all individual and joint liabilities you and your spouse have and can access records for them
- If there are children, whether you and your spouse are likely to agree on legal custody and parenting time matters
- Whether you or your spouse are likely to need assistance from the other to pay for the divorce or living expenses during the divorce process
If you live in central Indiana, the Indianapolis divorce lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you identify the matters relevant to your case so that you will be well prepared when filing for divorce. Our team of family law attorneys has extensive experience helping clients navigate divorce in Indiana as efficiently as possible. Whether you and your spouse are facing an uncontested divorce or there are one or more points of disagreement, we can help you every step of the way.
What Indianapolis Divorce Lawyers Do to Initiate Your Divorce
Divorce in Indiana begins when one of the parties files a petition for dissolution, asking the court to dissolve (legally end) the marriage. Indiana is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the party seeking divorce need not show bad acts by the other party in order to be entitled to a divorce. The legal grounds for a dissolution of marriage under Indiana divorce law are set out in Indiana Code § 31-15-2-3:
- An irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- The conviction of one of the parties of a felony after the date of marriage
- One party’s impotence, which existed prior to the marriage
- Either party’s diagnosis of incurable insanity that lasts at least two years
Indiana Code § 31-15-2-5 sets out what must be included in the petition, including an allegation of one of the legal grounds for divorce. Filing the petition starts a clock for the divorce proceeding. The court cannot grant the divorce until at least 60 days after the filing of the petition for dissolution.
Our team of experienced Indianapolis divorce lawyers can help you from before the case starts to well beyond the granting of the dissolution decree. Examples of how your Indianapolis divorce lawyers may assist you include:
- Preparing an accurate petition for dissolution
- Advising you on your rights and obligations during and after the divorce proceeding
- Identifying and preparing for potential areas of dispute
- Advising on what records to gather
- Representing you at any hearings
- Assisting you when there are allegations of contempt of court
- Asking the court to modify a prior order or the decree
Even if you and your spouse have agreed on all divorce matters before filing, issues can arise that complicate your divorce proceedings. Hiring an Indiana divorce attorney early in the process who is familiar with the local courts will go far to protect your rights.
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Indiana Child Custody, Support, and Parenting Time
If you have a minor child and you’re getting divorced, your rights related to Indiana child custody, child support, and parenting time after the divorce must be addressed in the divorce proceedings. The court must determine each parent’s rights and obligations regarding child custody, child support, and parenting time. The court then memorializes these determinations in an order or decree. Whether a hearing is required depends on the extent to which there are questions or disputes.
Of these issues, child custody is usually the starting point. Indiana child custody law allows for joint custody and sole custody. Indiana Code § 31-9-2-67 defines “joint custody” to mean shared responsibility and authority to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. In other words, each parent has a say in decisions regarding significant aspects of raising the child such as matters regarding the child’s healthcare, education, and religious instruction. Someone with sole custody need not consult the other parent in making those decisions. When the parties cannot agree on legal custody, the court may order the parties to obtain a custody evaluation by a licensed professional.
While Indiana child custody has to do with a parent’s authority or obligation to make major life decisions regarding the child, the day-to-day matters that arise are determined by the parent with the child at the time a matter arises. Parents are free to suggest to the court their own parenting time schedule, but the court applies the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines when the parties do not agree on visitation. The court may enter a parenting time order while the divorce case is underway and then revise that order in the final divorce decree.
Child support is the obligation of each parent to support the child financially. Indiana Code title 31, article 16 requires the parties to support children of the marriage according to the formula set out in the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. The parties calculate the support obligation of each parent by completing an Indiana Child Support Obligation Worksheet. The Worksheet applies the Child Support Guidelines, which take into account factors such as these:
- The income earned by each parent, which may include bonuses and overtime
- The number of children
- The amount of parenting time (visitation) each parent has with the child or children
- The number of other children for whom a parent has a separate child support obligation
- The amount paid for the child’s health insurance, childcare, and related costs
Once each parent’s support obligation is determined, the court issues a child support order. Courts commonly issue child support orders while a divorce in Indiana is pending and again in the dissolution decree.
The court’s orders in your divorce are just that, orders you must follow until you successfully petition the court to modify the order. Failure to comply with any of the court’s child-related orders regarding child support or parenting time can result in a finding that you are in contempt of court, which can result in an order to pay legal costs and/or attorney’s fees and, in some cases, an order to serve jail time.
When your financial or parenting situation changes, you must petition the court if you wish to change current Indiana child custody and child support arrangements. Modifying an Indiana divorce decree is the only way to do so legally without the potential consequences noted above. A skilled Indiana divorce attorney can assist you in modifying an Indiana divorce decree to better reflect your current circumstances when other life changes occur after a divorce.
Division of Marital Assets and Debts in Indiana
One of the first steps in any divorce case is determining the marital assets and liabilities—what the parties own and owe. Anything owned by either party or by the parties jointly is considered a marital asset subject to division in the course of a divorce in Indiana. However, a seasoned Indiana divorce attorney may be able to successfully argue that a particular asset should not be considered to be in the “marital pot” subject to division.
In addition to identifying marital assets, parties to a divorce must also provide the court with a value for each asset. Bank accounts are easy to value, but assets like a house, car, business interest, or personal property may require estimates by the parties to the divorce. When the parties do not agree on or are uncertain about the value, a professional appraiser may be necessary to provide a valuation. Business interests and retirement accounts are examples of items that commonly require professional valuation.
Once the marital assets and liabilities are identified and valued, they will need to be divided between the parties in the divorce proceedings. The parties may provide the court with an agreed division of property, which the court is free to accept or reject. When the parties disagree on the division of assets or debts, the court may need to hold an evidentiary hearing.
Indiana divorce law assumes that dividing the marital assets equally is a fair and just result, but experienced Indianapolis divorce attorneys know when and how to argue for a division in favor of their clients.
Spousal Maintenance in an Indiana Divorce
Spousal maintenance is a type of support paid by one spouse when the other spouse lacks the means to obtain employment sufficient for self-support after the divorce. Indiana Code title 31, article 15, chapter 7 sets out the circumstances in which the court may order one former spouse to pay maintenance to the other spouse after the divorce is final. The court may order this type of maintenance if the spouse needing support has:
- A physical disability
- A mental disability
- A need for education to be able to become employable at a level to provide for his or her self-support and, if there are children, for the support of the children
Experienced Indianapolis divorce lawyers know that having a competent and skilled Indiana divorce attorney is especially critical for clients who are unable to provide support for themselves or their children. The Indianapolis divorce lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP fight for their clients’ right to the means to provide for themselves and their families.
Help with Modifying an Indiana Divorce Decree
Whether or not the divorce decree originally suited both parties equally, circumstances can change to make aspects of the court’s orders no longer appropriate. When that happens, experienced divorce lawyers can best help you ask the court to modify those terms in your decree. Examples of orders in a decree that parties commonly seek to modify later include:
- Child support, such as when one or both parents’ income has changed in a substantial way
- Parenting time, such as when children’s school and activity schedules or a parent’s work schedule makes the current visitation schedule unworkable
- Child custody, when one parent believes that the child’s best interests would be served by a change in legal custody
The parties may ask the court to an agreed modification of the decree on these or other matters. When you and your former spouse do not agree, having an Indiana divorce attorney with extensive litigation skills and experience offers your best chance at successfully modifying an Indiana divorce decree.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP: Indianapolis Divorce Lawyers in Your Corner
For most parties, the ability to handle the legal and emotional aspects of their divorce is too much. An experienced Indiana divorce attorney can lighten the burden on you and put your case in capable hands. When you hire an attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you get the following and more:
- Complimentary consultation that is completely confidential
- Driven representation from skilled litigators and negotiators
- Results-oriented advocacy for your benefit and peace of mind
- Counsel from an attorney with a 9.9 Superb Avvo Rating