Cross Glazier Burroughs, PC

Indianapolis Family Law Blog

Children bond with Mom and Dad differently

You have probably heard that divorce courts prefer joint custody for the children when possible. This just means that both Mom and Dad will be involved, to a degree, after a divorce. The courts try to steer clear of sole custody unless it's apparent that the child's welfare would be negatively impacted by being with one of their parents -- if it's an unsafe living situation, for example.

You may wonder, then, why the courts do this. Yes, it makes sense that both parents would want and deserve time with the children, but the courts are supposed to put the children first, not the parents. Is joint custody in their best interests?

Will a prenup help in divorce?

You agreed to sign a prenup when you got married. You assumed, at the time, that you would never need it. So did your spouse. You were just being careful. Now, ten years later, you are getting divorced.

You haven't thought about that document in a decade, but it's still valid. Is it going to help?

Your children may think the divorce is their fault

If you're getting divorced, you have probably heard that you need to tell your children that the divorce is not their fault. To you, this may seem pointless. It's clearly not their fault and you clearly still love them. They would never think they caused your marital troubles, right?

The truth, though, is that they often do. Kids may misinterpret events. They may draw their own conclusions. They may just feel emotional about the whole event and not know how to deal with those feelings. That can lead them to assume that they made some sort of mistake.

Avoid these common discipline mistakes of divorced parents

All parents disagree with one another at least occasionally on how to best discipline their children. When parents are separated or divorced, those disagreements can be exacerbated by their negative feelings about each other as well as the fact that they're each essentially single parents in separate households.

When divorced parents can't agree on how to discipline their kids, those children can become confused and frustrated. They may take advantage of their parents' disagreements to play one against the other to get what they want.

Why does abuse happen in the home?

If you're being abused by your spouse or your partner, you do not need to spend time thinking about why it happens. You simply need to seek safety for yourself and, if applicable, for your children. That should be your only goal.

However, it is important to explore the reasoning behind abuse in an effort to understand why people are subjected to this type of behavior. No one deserves to live like that, but it happens all the time. Why do abusers do what they do?

Changed circumstances that alter child custody solutions

The child custody solution that you settle on when you get divorced may not be one that works for the rest of a child's time living with you and your ex. You must be open to the idea of change, especially when there are altered circumstances that make that change unavoidable.

After all, your custody order may stand for a long time, and it's unrealistic to expect your life to stay exactly the same for that entire time. Say you get divorced when you have a newborn. You and your ex will then share custody for roughly the next 18 years. A lot can happen in that time, including:

  • You get a new job, giving you a new schedule to work around.
  • You decide to move to be closer to your family, to take that new job or for some other reason.
  • Your child starts school and they have a new schedule and needs.
  • Your child gets a job and alters their own schedule.
  • Your ex gets into legal trouble or gets arrested.
  • Your ex violates the custody agreement that you already have and it's clear that change is necessary.
  • One of you has an adverse health event that makes it harder to care for the child.
  • Your child's preferences change and he or she tells you they want to spend more or less time with you or your ex.

What happens if you don't pay child support in Indiana?

Every parent has an obligation to take care of their child financially until they're of age to do so themselves. Indiana state law requires moms and dads to provide for their kids' needs until they're 19-years-old. It's at that age that a parent's obligation to make child support payments comes to an end. There are a few exceptions to these rules. County officials throughout the state employ a variety of measures to enforce Indiana judges' child support orders.

Child support enforcement agents may be able to intercept a non-custodial parent's lottery winnings, state or federal tax refunds or insurance settlements if they're behind in making their required payments.

How do same-sex divorces differ from heterosexual divorces?

Same-sex marriages are both similar and different from heterosexual unions. One of the significant differences between the two is when the marriage may have officially become legal. The date that government officials recognize may not be reflective of when a same-sex couples' relationship began. Another difference between these two types of marriages is how parental rights work. Many same-sex couples decide to mediate their divorces in light of their unique relationships.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that both gay and lesbian couples have the same right to marry as heterosexual couples as part of the 2015 landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges. It's after that date that all states became legally obligated to marry same-sex individuals. Beginning that year as well, every jurisdiction had to start acknowledging any marriages that had occurred in other states.

Important questions the court asks about child custody

If you end up in divorce court, with a judge determining how custody of your children should get divided between you and your ex, the judge is going to ask a number of questions to better evaluate the situation. The judicial preference is for shared custody between you and your ex, but they still have to decide if that is really best in your unique case.

Additionally, shared custody does not mean a 50/50 split in all cases. Even when the court knows that you will share parenting time with your ex, they still have to ask some questions to figure out exactly what that split will look like. A few examples of questions they may ask include:

  • Are there any claims of and/or evidence of abuse?
  • Does either one of the parents struggle with drug or alcohol addiction?
  • Is the home environment safe for a child?
  • Does the child have a preference or a request?
  • Have you or your ex been acting as the primary caretaker?
  • What does your physical health look like? What about your mental health?
  • How old is the child?
  • Is the extended family involved and what role do they play?
  • Where does the child go to school and how can the custody arrangement keep them in that school?

After divorce, children need support and routine

Parents often try to think about what their children need most after a divorce. Do they need less focus on rules and more fun time? Do they need more time with friends? Should they get them some of the things they have been clambering for, like the newest gaming system?

The idea behind these thoughts is simple: Divorce is hard. It's stressful. Parents just want to know what they can do to reduce that stress and make life go smoothly for their children.

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