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Most kids participate in some kind of organized activity outside the school day and there are a wide range of costs and commitment levels required of parents whose children want to be involved. Pursuant to the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, extracurricular expenses are not part of the regular weekly child support payment. They are expenses which are optional in nature since these activities are not part of life’s required costs such as food and clothing. That means that in addition to meeting the basic financial needs of a child, parents are faced with the expenses of things like sports,...
In Indiana, the Indiana Supreme Court recently ruled “No.”   The issue as to whether or not divorced parents may be obligated to pay the graduate or professional school expenses of their adult children pursuant to the Indiana child support statutes was recently presented to the Indiana Supreme Court.  In the Court’s June 1, 2016 Opinion, it was determined that the term “postsecondary,” as used in the provision permitting an award for postsecondary educational expenses, does not include graduate or professional school expenses. Indiana courts have always permitted a claim for parents to share...
We Always Wondered. Now We Know - Sort of. A major feature of the Affordable Care Act is the employer mandate. The ACA requires large employers to offer health care coverage as an employee benefit to "full-time employees" who average at least 30 hours per week. Almost immediately, employers thought a way around the employer mandate was simply to juggle hours below 30 hours per week to limit the number of full-time employees subject to coverage. But benefits attorneys recognized a potential danger with this approach in the form of remedies available under the Employee Retirement Income...
Many times clients will ask if the other party will have to pay their attorney fees. The answer depends on the specific case. Some parties will place a fee-shifting provision in their settlement agreements that requires the moving party to pay the other party's attorney fees if they lose the case. This is done in part to eliminate some of the discretion the judge has in awarding attorney fees. In a recent decision, the Court of Appeals held that these provisions are not binding on the Court. So what does this actually mean for your case? Even if the parties agree that the losing party will...
Tag(s): Family law
On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA). This statute enacts a new federal private right of action to protect trade secrets.  It does this by adding a civil component to the federal law making it a crime to steal intellectual property. Before the DTSA, civil remedies for trade secret disputes were handled exclusively under state law.  While most states have adopted a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, there are differences state to state.  The DTSA does not replace or preempt state law.  Instead, it is expected to create a new body...
Crowdfunding sites and resources are everywhere with the various sites and various requests for funding multiplying at an electrifying rate. Families can take a financial hit during a divorce. Not only are a husband and wife dividing up their respective assets, debts, and retirement accounts, but there will now be two households to purchase and manage. The same amount of resources may now be going to support two separate homes, two separate bedrooms for children, groceries, clothing, and maybe even child support or temporary spousal support. And there will be at least one and in a lot of...
Effective June 1, 2016, Indiana will implement the Indiana Commercial Court Pilot Project for a period up to three years. This change will create commercial courts in the following venues: Allen Superior Court – Civil Division, Judge Bobay Elkhart Superior Court 2, Judge Bowers Vanderburgh Superior Court, Judge D’Amour Floyd Superior Court 3, Judge Granger Lake Superior Court, Judge Sedia Marion Superior Court – Civil Division 1, Judge Welch Commercial courts in the United States began in 1993 and exist in 22 other states, including Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Delaware. Indiana established the...
Today, the Department of Labor issued the much anticipated final rule regarding changes to the overtime provisions of the FLSA. The purpose of the rule change is to narrow the category of employees who can be considered salaried-exempt. The current law requires that in order for an employee to be considered salaried-exempt, he/she must be paid a salary, satisfy a duties test, and be paid at least $455.00 per week ($23,660.00 per year). The new rule will not change the duties test, but raises the pay threshold to $913.00 per week ($47,476.00 per year). The new rule also raises the threshold...
A recent report published by the National Marriage Project finds that children are now more likely to have unmarried cohabitating parents than divorced parents. This finding is consistent with growing findings that more and more couples in the U.S. are cohabitating rather than marrying. This presents an interesting challenge when a couple ends their relationship.  When a relationship ends in divorce, there are numerous state laws that guide a couple and the court on what a fair and equitable division of property should look like.  With a cohabitating couple, there is no similar guidebook and...
Stepparent adoptions can be a relatively easy and straightforward way to make your new family complete. Here's a guide of what to expect in Indiana.  1. Talk with a Family Lawyer Don't forget to consult with a lawyer before you being the process for guidance on what to expect.  In Indiana, stepparents must submit to a criminal background check or undergo a home study by a court-approved agency. Parents are also required to disclose certain medical history information.   2. Obtain Consent from the Other Biological Parent When the other parent consents, a step parent adoption is a much smoother...
Grandparents have rights to spend time with their grandchildren.  In fact, Indiana has enacted a Grandparent Visitation Act allowing grandparents to seek assistance from a court if they are being denied the opportunity to spend time with their grandkids. In a recent decision from the Indiana Supreme Court, the rights of grandparents and parents to parenting time was addressed. Specifically, the Court noted: A child’s relationship with his grandparents is important, and can deserve protection under the Grandparent Visitation Act. But grandparent-visitation orders necessarily impinge, to some...
I am often asked about what happens when a child turns 14, with the general consensus being that a child magically now gets to decide their fate. It seems that most people have the misconception that 14 is some sort of magical age when a child can choose for himself or herself where to live and a court and his parents will simply defer to their wishes. This is simply not the case. Indiana law never places this right or responsibility only on the child’s wishes. Instead, a child's preference is one of a list of numerous factors that a court will consider when deciding custody and parenting...
A frequent question posed to divorce lawyers is whether and when you can change the locks to the house. The answer is the same as it is to many legal questions: It depends. In Indiana, if you are able to establish domestic violence or a threat of abuse, you may be able to obtain a Temporary Restraining Oder that also excludes a spouse from the marital home, by way of a temporary eviction. If granted, a sheriff may arrive and help escort your spouse from the home. Of course, these are temporary orders and a person evicted from his home will be given a quick hearing to oppose the finding....
At birth, you may legally give your child any first, middle, and last name you like. Whether you are married or not, you don’t have to give the baby the last name of either parent if you don’t want to, and the child does not have to have the father’s last name to be considered “legitimate.” However, if a child is born out-of-wedlock , the Mom may be the only parent who makes that decision. In Indiana, the natural father of a child born out-of-wedlock enjoys no rights regarding child's name until his paternity has been legally established. Once paternity is established, both mother and father...
Annulments do not happen every day in Indiana, as it has the effect of voiding a marriage. There are only two very specific circumstances under which a court can grant an annulment: 1) One party to the marriage was incapable because of age or mental incompetency to enter into a marriage contract, or 2) One of the parties to the marriage induced the other into the marriage by fraud. Proving mental incapacity or fraud is not easy and definitely not your typical situation... but it does happen! If you believe a loved one was not capable of consenting to a marriage but was taken advantage of--...
What is a prenuptial or a premarital agreement?  The purpose of a premarital agreement or a "prenup" is to determine, prior to marriage, what each spouse wishes to maintain as non-marital property in case of death, disability or divorce. When a husband or wife each have children from  a prior relationship, such agreement can help preserve your children's future inheritance, in the event that you do not outlive your new spouse.  Without such an agreement, its possible that our new spouse would simply leave everything to her children, thereby depriving you and your family of what you've worked...
If you aren't up to date with your kids' school calendars, you may have missed a relatively new concept: Fall Break.  Its an end of the first semester break for kids and teachers alike and provides enough days off of school to allow parents and families to schedule in some last minute vacation time. To understand the Spring Break and Fall Break rules in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines you must be certain as to which version of the guidelines you follow.  There are presently two (2) versions of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines that parents may follow.  If your parenting time order...
All parents want the best for their children, but a discussion as to whether college is affordable is common today in most families. What happens when parents divorce? Is one or both of the divorced parents responsible for paying for their child’s college education? How should those costs be divided among divorced parents or parents who have never been married? Indiana law permits custodial parents to seek contribution from a non-custodial parent for the costs of a child’s college education. Courts will consider a number of factors to determine whether a non-custodial parent should contribute...
You’ve Got Your Decree-- do you know that there may be a lot of loose ends to tie up?  Here are Some Suggestions for Tying up Loose Ends. If, as a part of the Decree, you  have been awarded a division of your ex-spouse’s retirement account(s), make  sure your portion of the account(s) is actually transferred to your individual  account, set aside in your individual name, or reserved in your name for  distribution at a future date pursuant to the plan.If the plan is a “qualified plan,” such as a  401(k) or pension, follow up with your attorney within 60 days to make sure the  appropriate...
In a recent decision by the Indiana Supreme Court, the Court struck down a deal between parents who attempted to bargain away child support in exchange for no parenting time as void.  Mother and Father agreed that Father would give up his parenting time if Mother would not pursue him for child support or an outstanding arrearage. The Indiana Supreme Court noted that any agreement to contract away child support rights is directly contrary to the public policy of protecting the welfare of children and is therefore void.  The Court observed that the right to child support lies exclusively with...

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