Recently in Divorce Category

Resources for helping your children through divorce

August 26, 2014

suitcases.jpgIf you are planning to divorce, as a parent you have many concerns, the first of which may be how to tell your children. If you are in counseling, your therapist may have several suggestions for sharing the news with your children and preparing them for the transition during and after the divorce. You may also want to consider working with a divorce coach or parenting coordinator depending upon the nature of co-parenting or custody concerns you are facing. Seeking advice from experienced, specific support resources can make a significant difference in your and your children's ability to cope and adapt. The decision to divorce is only one step in a series of changes and modified plans that will vary as your children grow and you and your ex's lives change (relocation, remarriage, etc), so preparing now can help you avoid being mired in adversity and litigation, which will risk financial and emotional collapse for your family.

If counseling isn't a viable option for you (don't assume it isn't within your financial means as many therapists work on a sliding fee scale), there are a number of online resources including www.uptoparents.org and www.coparenting101.org which have blogs, discussion boards, videos, radio broadcasts and even worksheets and exercises which can help you become more child-centered and focus on co-parenting. With advice from experts and other parents who've been there, you can mine the information that is best for your particular situation.

You may also want to consider reading one of the numerous divorce guides or books with advice for divorcing parents. In determining which books are best for preparing your children, there are actually only a few which are based on solid knowledge and psychological research about how children and adolescents respond to the separation of their parents. Some which are recommended are: 'Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two' by Isolina Ricci; 'The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions so You and Your Children Can Thrive' by Robert E. Emery, or 'For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered' by E. Mavis Hetherington and John Kelly.

The reality is that the extreme cases in divorce are, thankfully, the rare scenarios. Divorce is not "easy" despite opinions to the contrary, but it also isn't likely to lead to tragedy. Most families will struggle with financial and emotional issues as they separate into two households, change parenting styles or responsibilities, adjust schedules, deal with support and work issues and try to figure out "where to go from here." Grief, anger, bitterness, resentment, and even relief are all natural feelings which accompany divorce. These are feelings not just for the spouses, but their children as well.

Divorce isn't just a legal issue, and compassionate family law attorneys will acknowledge that by providing suggestions to clients of external resources to address the financial and emotional issues. The traditional litigation divorce model is only one path to dissolve your marriage, and for many families, alternatives to litigation such as collaborative law or mediation are better options to reduce the impact of the divorce on the spouses and children. Prospective divorce clients are usually operating from two different emotional positions - one is proactive, a spouse who for a number of reasons meets with an attorney for a general consultation to possibly discuss divorce, but isn't ready to initiate proceedings. The other is in reactionary mode because the other spouse has filed for divorce or perhaps has committed infidelity causing a strong emotional response often motivated by retaliation. In either situation, you can benefit from planning and researching how to discuss divorce with your children. Your advance preparation can help you avoid involving them in an adult situation, and minimize the emotional impact as you guide them through the transition.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients throughout the Indianapolis area and the state of Indiana in all areas family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy and other areas of assisted reproductive technology law. For more information, please contact Leah Potter at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult a family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

DIVORCE - BE WARY OF FRIENDLY ADVICE

July 31, 2014


bride secret.jpg There is one thing that is certain in every single divorce case: Unsolicited opinions and advice from others. Anyone who has gone through or is going through a divorce can most definitely say that they have received advice from friends, family, colleagues and pretty much anyone they encounter. Everyone wants to offer their opinions, share their stories and give advice on how to handle the divorce.

We get calls every day from our clients that start with the sentence: "My friend/neighbor/sister told me that I need to.....". It is completely understandable that the people around you would want to provide support and give advice in an emotional and difficult situation. That's what friends are for, right?

But, how should you handle all of this advice and well-meaning suggestions? Should you act on the opinions of friends, family and/or non-divorce professionals?

For the most part: No. Especially, if they are giving advice about legal and/or financial matters.

After all, divorce is a LEGAL process. That is not to say that there aren't many emotional issues that come with it, however, the end result relies on the law, and often times with a judge. Divorcing couples must remember that every situation is unique. Every situation needs expertise and professional guidance. You deserve to receive guidance from someone who understand the complexities of Indiana's divorce laws and someone who understand the financial impact that a divorce can have. It is imperative to your future, whether that be your financial future or the future of your children, to emerge from divorce with the best outcome for you and your family.

So, next time you need to vent to your family and friends, feel free, but be wary of the advice and opinions you get back. Utilize your support network as a sounding board and turn to the professionals for the advice you need for your path forward.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients throughout the Indianapolis area and the state of Indiana in all areas family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy and other areas of assisted reproductive technology law. For more information, please contact Leah Potter at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult a family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

photo credit: Suus Wansink via photopin cc

"Conscious Uncoupling" - What does it mean?

March 27, 2014

Gwyneth-Paltrow-Chris-Martin.jpgThe phrase "conscious uncoupling" made the news this week as Hollywood couple, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced their split. The couple used the phrase to describe their separation, and what we can only assume to be their impending divorce. The term "conscious uncoupling" left people around the country puzzled by what it actually means.

While the term may be new or fairly unknown, we can assume several things about "conscious uncoupling". First of all, based on the blog post on Paltrow's website Goop, it sounds like the couple has been working hard on their relationship and have now decided to amicably split. From a family law perspective, it sounds like the couple will be perfect candidates for mediation or collaborative law to handle their split. These methods of non-adversarial "decoupling" are nothing new in the family law realm. Our Indiana divorce attorneys routinely practice in both mediation and collaborative law as an alternative solution to litigation for our clients.

Mediation is a non-adversarial alternative to litigation wherein the parties work together, with the help of a neutral third party "mediator," to determine their own outcome, as opposed to having a result imposed upon them by a court. Mediation typically occurs in an office rather than a courtroom, making the process less formal than a court proceeding. The mediator does not decide the outcome of the dispute, but rather assists the parties in reaching their own mutually acceptable resolution. A mediator may inform parties of certain applicable laws, rules and guidelines so that parties may have the information necessary to make well-reasoned decisions.

Mediation can result in quicker dispute resolution since mediation occurs at the parties' and mediator's convenience, as opposed to judicial proceedings which are often scheduled months or even years in advance, depending on the court ' s calendar. Because much of the necessary exchange of information between the parties can occur at mediation as opposed to gathering the same through time-consuming and costly formal "discovery," mediation tends also to be less expensive than litigating a dispute through a court proceeding.

In family law matters involving children, mediation can set the stage for future peaceful and cooperative parenting, as opposed to the hostile and uncooperative parenting relationships which too often follow bitter and lengthy legal battles, and which typically have a profound negative effect on children.

Collaborative Law is another alternative dispute resolution process in which the parties retain separate attorneys whose primary function is to help them reach an agreed settlement. The parties and their attorneys collaborate in good faith, and commit to communicate respectfully and honestly to represent the legitimate needs of both parties.

Collaborative Law is an option to deal more effectively with potential problems for parties who may not be as prepared for mediation. While maintaining the same absolute commitment to settlement as the sole agenda, each party has quality legal advice and advocacy built in at all times during the process. Even if either party lacks negotiating skill, or is emotionally upset or angry, the process is equalized by the presence of the skilled advocates. It is the responsibility of the attorneys to encourage their clients to be reasonable to make sure that the process stays positive and productive.

The best candidates for the collaborative process are parties who, among other factors, want a civilized, respectful resolution of the issues, would like to keep open the possibility of a friendship with the other party, will be co-parenting children together and want the best co-parenting relationship possible, and want to protect their children from the harm associated with protracted, contested litigation.

It is impossible to know the exact circumstances surrounding the separation of the Hollywood couple, or any couple, for that matter. However, it is to be commended that the parties have already stated that they are respectful of each other and are committed to coparenting together. While amicable separations are not possible in all situations, it can be said that the commitment to parenting and causing the least amount of emotional trauma on the children is always a step in the right direction when dealing with difficult matters such as divorce.

Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult a family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.


(Photo: Colin Young-Wolff, Invision/AP)



How to manage your fees in your Divorce

January 24, 2014

FAMILY LAW WEB.jpgFinding the best divorce lawyer for your situation can be difficult. Once you've chosen an attorney, the decisions don't end there. You can choose your actions carefully and help manage your case to reduce fees and emotional turmoil. Our law office offers suggestions to keep the fees (and emotions) under control.
Legal matters can contribute to emotional and financial stress. A client's emotional state can cause attorneys' fees and litigation costs to escalate. For example, if one party is vindictive or mean-spirited, he/she may refuse to negotiate in good faith, behave in such a manner that necessitates numerous court appearances, or otherwise cause delays. Assuming the other party acts unreasonably, such conduct is outside your control. In these circumstances your divorce attorney should attempt to cope with the situation through appropriate procedures. This negative conduct will be expensive and exhausting to all parties. By being aware of how emotion and behavior can affect attorneys' fees, you are capable of reducing fees by conducting yourself in the highest, most rational manner and following these simple rules:


  1. Keep in mind that the services your family law attorney provides are primarily legal. It is essential that your attorney understand the basic nature of your past interaction with the other party(ies). It is in your best interests that you recognize and cope with the stress which occurs when you are involved in a legal dispute. If necessary, see a professional therapist or counselor. Our office is happy to give credible referrals. Unless you are thinking clearly, you may be inclined to make decisions influenced more by emotion, which could increase your fees or negatively affect the litigation or settlement of your case.

  2. Participate as effectively as you can in your own case. Your lawyer will ask you to help in gathering information and documents. Your time is likely to be less expensive to you than an attorney's time. Accordingly, it is for your own best financial interests that you obtain as much of the information and documents for your case as possible, and provide them to us when requested.

  3. During your case, your attorney may undertake the discovery process. Parties, through their counsel, may submit formal requests for information and documents, including a long set of written questions, called INTERROGATORIES. Parties are entitled, under the rules of the court, to request answers to the information sought, although it may entail hours of research gathering your records. It is your attorney's legal responsibility to ensure that the information is supplied. Many of the INTERROGATORIES are seeking answers that are legal in nature which will require our guidance. However, if the labor of answering all of the INTERROGATORIES falls to your attorney or if there is a delay in producing documents that you could have provided more easily than an attorney can obtain, it will increase your fees. Also, if there is a delay in response due to your lack of cooperation, the other party could apply to the court for an order to compel you to answer and produce, and there could be monetary sanctions against you.

  4. Organize the papers involved in your case and bring them to conferences and hearings unless otherwise directed. This will also help you keep track of the status of your case.

  5. Think positively toward settlement of your case. Most cases are, and should be, settled through the negotiations of the parties and attorneys. The court expects those attempts. Often, the parties' discussions help to bring about a settlement


Additionally, there are other avenues to resolve disputes. Mediation is a manner of "Alternative Dispute Resolution" in which a certified mediator can help parties negotiate and reach agreement. Your attorney should discuss with you at some point and advise whether to mediate, and in some cases, the court may require mediation or a settlement conference prior to scheduling a final hearing or trial. Your attorney should always be in a position to negotiate a settlement, and quite frankly, a negotiated settlement is often the most favorable and cost effective way of achieving a result acceptable to both parties. It has been said that the mark of a good settlement is that neither party is entirely happy

However, sometimes litigation is the only way to resolve the dispute. Litigation can be costly and stressful. However, it may be necessary. If it is necessary, your attorney should work with you to prepare your case for trial in order to present your case as favorably as possible.

Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult an experienced family law lawyer in Indiana to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Lanae Harden speaks about divorce in Indiana for online radio show

December 20, 2013

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We are proud that Lanae Harden was recently interviewed by the Business Leader Spotlight Show, an online radio show that is syndicated to over 1.5-million listeners. The
"Business Leader Spotlight" show's goal is to take topics that are of general interest to the public and provide valuable insights into the topic from experienced professionals in that industry. Lanae was interviewed about the legal issues you can encounter in a divorce in Indiana. You can listen to the interview by clicking on the following link:

Lanae Harden Indiana Divorce Attorney Interview

Can my husband or wife leave and take the kids?

December 10, 2013

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You've decided to separate. Your spouse is moving out of the home. But now, he or she claims that they are taking the kids with them when they leave. Are they permitted to take the children with them when they leave?

Maybe. Unless the courts have already determined a custody agreement, one parent is not required permission to leave with the children. If you plan to pursue custody of the children, it is advised not to leave the house. Even if you take the children with you, it may impact custody decisions because the courts can decide to keep the children at the house to reduce the disruption in their lives.

The first thing you should do is contact an experienced family law attorney. Here is more information on how to find an attorney for you and questions you should ask your attorney. Your attorney should file for a temporary custody order. Temporary custody may be decided as soon as the parents are separated.

If the parties cannot agree to a temporary custody arrangement then a hearing may be scheduled. After the hearing, the judge will issue a temporary order deciding custody. This order will be in effect until the final divorce decree is entered by the court.

What should you do if your spouse takes the children against your will?
Speak to an attorney immediately. An attorney can assist with obtaining the temporary custody order.

If you feel your children may be in danger, contact the police immediately.

Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult an experienced assisted reproductive technology law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation

photo credit: sachman75 via photopin cc

Facebook and Divorce

August 22, 2013

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Facebook, the online social network, is estimated to have over 1 billion users per month. As the network has gained in popularity, researchers and scientists have been studying the effects on our daily lives, particularly our real life relationships. A study from the University of Michigan finds that Facebook use may dampen users' happiness levels. Furthermore, in 2012, divorce lawyers surveyed by Divorce-Online UK said that the social network was implicated in a third of all divorce filings the previous year. And more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say social networking in divorce proceedings is on the rise, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Our divorce attorneys at Harden Jackson Law in Indiana can agree with these sentiments.

Most recently, another study was done at the University of Missouri that indicates excessive Facebook use can CAUSE damage to relationships. Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism, found that individuals who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook-related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.

"Previous research has shown that the more a person in a romantic relationship uses Facebook, the more likely they are to monitor their partner's Facebook activity more stringently, which can lead to feelings of jealousy," Clayton said. "Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners. Also, our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating."
This trend applied particularly to couples who had been in relationships under 3 years, maybe because these relationships had not fully matured.

So, how do you detach from the social media world? Some users reported deactivating their account to save their relationships. It's obvious that people need to focus on their personal, face-to-face relationships more and less on those "virtual" relationships. Facebook is a social networking tool that should be used as such and not taken too seriously. Also, limit your time on Facebook, instead of checking hourly, check daily or even a couple of times per week. Pare down your friend list to those that truly matter to your real life.

Back to school tips for co-parents after divorce

July 26, 2013

pencils.jpgIt's that time of year. Summer is coming to a close and school is almost back in session. For divorced parents, this may present its own unique set of challenges in addition to the usual back to school transition. Below are common issues that can come up and tips to resolve.

Change in custody schedule - The new school year means new activities, new sports, new friends, and new problems with visitation schedules for parents who are separated or divorced. Parents should work together to find an agreeable schedule for them and for the child. Parents should communicate the changes with the children and prepare them for upcoming changes.

Finances - with the new school year comes new financial burdens. Fees for tuition, books, supplies and extracurricular activities add up. In Indiana, public school fees (including books, bus etc.), are considered a controlled expense and should be paid for by the custodial parent. However, private school tuition and extracurricular activity expenses are either decided by a court order or an agreement by the parents. Often times, parties will agree to the splitting of these fees, whether proportionately to income or equally. Pay the expenses you have been ordered or agreed to pay. Paying your attorney fees to argue over these expenses will probably exceed the costs of paying for the expenses themselves.

Activities and Schedules- During the school year, there are sporting events, performances, conference and other events that both parents should attend. At the start of the school year, both parents should sit down and make plans for school events, vacations and early-release days. A huge part of your child's happiness is receiving love and support from both parents with peace and harmony. Don't fight, argue or cause any conflict with your ex at school events. Period.

Back to school can be a stressful time for a family, especially after a divorce. Putting your differences aside to focus on your children can only make that transition easier for them and create a positive foundation to start the school year from.

Indiana to decide on same-sex divorce

July 3, 2013

1392509_rainbow_flag.jpgLast week, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages solemnized in states where such marriages are legal for the purpose of applying federal benefits. In other words, same sex couples that are legally married are entitled to the same federal benefits as married heterosexual couples. The Supremes did not, however, mandate that all states legalize same sex marriage but rather left that determination to each individual state. There are currently 13 states that allow same-sex marriage.
What impact will the Court's ruling have on states that have not legalized same-sex marriage? We may soon find out the answer to that question. On June 26th, the same date as the Supreme Court's decision, Indiana received what is one of the first same-sex petition for dissolution of marriage in our state (there was a petition filed in 2009, which was dismissed by the judge). The petition states that "The parties have been and are residents of the state of Indiana for more than 6 month as per statute. Although Indiana does not recognize same sex marriage, Indiana must give full faith and credit to this marriage which was duly solemnized in Massachusetts and hereby grant the parties' dissolution of marriage."
Indiana family law attorneys around the state have many questions on the impact of this decision. If the federal government gives full faith and credit to legal same-sex marriages, will individual states be required to do the same? In states like Indiana where same sex marriage is not legal, will they be required to recognize those same-sex marriages performed legally elsewhere? Is there a "right" to divorce that must be applied equally to heterosexual and same-sex couples?

The role of a Guardian ad Litem in family law cases

May 31, 2013

1205419_little_fisher.jpgYou may be wondering what the role of a Guardian Ad Litem is in family law cases. Frequently abbreviated "GAL", the Guardian Ad Litem is a volunteer appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child involved in litigation. Indiana law requires the appointment of either a guardian ad litem or a trained court appointed special advocate in abuse and neglect cases. The purpose of the GAL is NOT to directly "represent" the child, a distinction which some find confusing, especially as many GALs are attorneys. However, it is not necessary to be an attorney to be a GAL, but Indiana does required that GAL or CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers complete special training.

Traditionally, GAL/CASA volunteers have been appointed in abuse or neglect cases or when a child becomes subject of proceedings to terminate a parent/child relationship. However, Indiana law allows for appointments of these special volunteers in divorce or paternity cases, which is becoming more frequent, especially when custody is contested or allegations arise regarding the health and safety of the child in the family law proceeding.

The GAL will perform a number of functions in a case to help determine the best interests of a child. The volunteer may conduct home visits and interview the parent(s), stepparents, significant others, or extended family who are involved in the child's home life. They may also interview any child care providers as well as teachers and may review medical or education records. The GAL is tasked with investigating the child's situation and ultimately filing a report with the court regarding the GAL's recommendation about custody of the child. For more information about the role of GAL/CASA volunteers in Indiana, please visit the Kids' Voice of Indiana link below.

Dissolution of Marriage in Guardian Ad Litem Practice

If you have questions about divorce in Indiana or other family law matters, please contact Harden Jackson Law.

Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult a family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

My Cheating Spouse: What Impact Does Infidelity Have on Divorce?

May 16, 2013

By: Clarissa Finnell

wedding_rings_-_african_american.jpgAlmost every meeting with a new divorce client starts with a recitation of all the reasons that the parties are getting divorced. High on that list is infidelity. Clients will provide me with loads and loads of evidence that their spouse is cheating and are surprised to find out that all this "proof" of infidelity is unlikely to impact their divorce. Indiana is a no-fault divorce state which in basic terms means that the reason the parties are divorcing is not a factor considered by the court when dividing up the parties' assets and debts. The reason or grounds for divorce that is most commonly used in Indiana divorce petitions is that there has been an "irretrievable breakdown" in the marriage. It is important to know that there does not have to be a consensus on whether the marriage is "irretrievably broken". As long as one party alleges that it is "broken", the divorce can be granted.

So, does this mean that your spouse's cheating will never be relevant in a divorce proceeding? Not necessarily; there are a couple of incidents where it may play a factor. The first is dissipation. There is a presumption in Indiana that all marital assets and liabilities be divided equally. There are several ways that you can rebut that presumption. Dissipation is a factor that the court may consider when deciding to divide the marital estate. If you can show that your spouse used marital assets on another person during your marriage that may be considered dissipation. For example, spending money on travel or gifts for the "other" woman or man may be considered dissipation and warrant a deviation from the presumptive 50/50 division.

In addition to being a factor considered in the division of property, a significant other may be a factor in a custody determination. The court will not correlate one's fitness to be a parent with their faithfulness as a spouse. However, the court may consider the parent's judgment with respect to when and if they introduce their children to the other person. Generally, it is not wise to introduce children to a new girlfriend or boyfriend too soon after the separation. The Court would also be concerned about the parent's judgment if their new significant other poses a danger to the children. Exposing the children to someone who is abusing alcohol or drugs or that has a history of abusing children, would impact a custody determination.

Although the law in Indiana does not take punitive measures against the cheating spouse, there are limited circumstances where it may be a factor in the divorce process. As these cases are fact sensitive, it is always a good idea to discuss the specifics of your case with an attorney to determine what if any relevance your spouse's actions will impact your divorce.

The attorneys at Harden Jackson practice exclusively in the area of family law and are skilled at handling any type of family law case. While divorce and legal separation are the more common areas of practice, we have extensive experience with custody, child support, pre/post-marital agreements and more.

If you have questions about divorce in Indiana or other family law matters, please contact Harden Jackson Law.


Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Top 5 things you need to tell your divorce lawyer

May 7, 2013

Once you have chosen the right the right family law attorney for you, there are essential pieces of information that you should share with your attorney immediately to help you with a positive outcome.
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  1. Disclose any disparaging allegations from the opposing party. Be up front about what your soon-to-be ex is saying about you. Whether true or not, if he/she is making claims about your behavior or actions, it is in your best interest to tell your attorney about this. Your attorney can prepare to respond to these allegations.
  2. Disclose your basic financial information. This includes your income, debts and assets. Financial issues are typically a determining factor on whether your case will need to go to litigation or can be settled.
  3. Names and ages of your children. Also, tell your attorney if any of your children have special needs or anything else that should be taken into consideration when it comes to parenting time or future financial support of your children.
  4. Disclose the case history. Are there upcoming hearings for this case? Are we the first attorneys to represent you for this matter? Have you tried to modify the agreement in the past? This information will assist your attorney with advising you on your path forward.
  5. Your goals. What outcome would you like from this situation? What are your ideas around asset division or parenting time? The better you can communicate this to your attorney, the sooner they can begin to work on a solution for you.


At HARDEN JACKSON, LLC, our entire practice is devoted to servicing clients throughout the Indianapolis area and the state of Indiana in all areas family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy and other areas of assisted reproductive technology law.
Our services are designed to provide expert guidance, tenacious advocacy, and effective solutions that ensure you can continue your journey with confidence that you have obtained the best outcome for you and your family. We are experienced, seasoned litigators and advocates. We are skilled negotiators, including registered mediators. We are an assertive, effective team of attorneys providing comprehensive services.

If you have questions about divorce or other family law matters, please contact Harden Jackson Law.


Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

How much does it cost to divorce in Indiana?

April 16, 2013


One of the first questions we get from prospective clients inquiring about divorce is "How much money will my divorce cost?" This question is tough to answer. There are so many extenuating circumstances that can affect your legal costs in divorce. There ARE ways 72.jpgto minimize legal fees and maintain control over the terms of your divorce. At Harden Jackson Law, we encourage spouses to avoid litigation and consider alternatives such as mediation or collaborative law. Both are less expensive than traditional divorce litigation, but each alternative method still provides a structured, legal process to work out detailed terms. However, there are many situations that aren't suitable for collaborative law or mediation. Here are a few tips to minimize your legal costs in your divorce:

  • Speak directly with the opposing party. Don't reach out to your attorney with disputes that could be sorted out between the parties, particularly if it is a parenting time issue that is already addressed in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (IPTG).
  • Disputes over minor property issues (like movies, sporting equipment, kitchen stuff) are not cost effective. If it costs more for your attorney to fight over a particular item than it would be to replace it, then it may not be worth fighting over unless there is a sentimental attachment.
  • Organize discovery responses on your own. Clients who do their own due diligence and send back organized documents and responses are rewarded by not having their attorney incur bills to get everything together.
  • Be timely with information requests. Having your attorney keep reminding you to send documents only incurs more fees. In fact, the cheapest option is an informal discovery where the parties are organized enough to get their financial documents exchanged without the need to request it.
  • "Sleep on it". Don't make emotional decisions. If opposing counsel sends an offer or a response, wait to respond when emotions have died down. Spending a lot of time crafting a response while emotions are high cost money and may even lead to regret.
At HARDEN JACKSON, we want all of our clients to be satisfied with the fees charged relative to the services provided. It is appropriate and important to discuss fees with your prospective attorney during your consultation and throughout the process of your case. You are entitled to an estimation of potential total costs related to your particular situation. For more information on divorce in Indiana or your family law situation, contact Harden Jackson Law.

New book tackles long-term impact of divorce on children

March 28, 2013

The new book released this week from New York Times bestselling author, M. Gary Neuman discusses the long-lasting negative impact divorce has on children caught in the middle of the 'irreconcilable differences. The book is titled, The Long Way Home: The Powerful 4-Step Plan for Adult Children of Divorce.

1205419_little_fisher.jpgAccording to the book description, millions of adults were children of divorce--and while a few have found closure and healing, many continue to struggle with the trauma of their parents' divorce, commonly even 20, 30, or 40 years after it happened. If you are experiencing some of the common reactions to divorce, including issues of trust, ongoing sadness, and the feeling that you can't shake your past, then you are likely still suffering from the pain of your parents' divorce. This book is designed to help you rebuild your past, regardless of how long you have felt unable to do so. Licensed family counselor Gary Neuman has worked successfully with many adult survivors of parental divorce. In this book, he presents a new, proven program to help you see and understand your past in order to let go of the pain of your parents' divorce and transform both your present and your future.

Neuman recently conducted a study of 379 children of divorce. The startling results are below:

• 89 percent believe their parents' divorce clearly had a negative impact on their life, while 45 percent label the impact as severe.
• 80 percent have experienced severe sadness or depression.
• 72 percent feel their parents' divorce impacted their ability to sustain close relationships.
• The majority feel their parents' divorce has undermined their self-confidence and ability to trust.

The study doesn't speak to how the children fared with the tension in the household before the divorce. Was it a high-conflict household? Did the divorce reduce the conflict in the house? Did the children have any negative effects from conflict that led to the divorce? Divorce is going to happen, and so will other bad or negative things that may impact our children. How can parents support and nurture our children to better handle divorce or other hurts in this world?

Do you have questions about divorce or how to help your children through this difficult time? Contact Harden Jackson

Is Collaborative Law the right choice for your divorce

March 21, 2013

Divorce is tough. For most people, it brings up ideas of adversarial court battles, custody disputes and angry spouses. But divorce does not always have to mean war. Created in the 1980s, the collaborative divorce concept has slowly but surely gained popularity for couples who want to maintain peace in their family, even during a divorce. While the concept is still taking off in Indiana, collaborative law can be a great alternative to the "typical" divorce litigation process.
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Collaborative Law is an alternative dispute resolution process in which the parties retain separate attorneys whose primary function is to help them reach an agreed settlement. The parties and their attorneys collaborate in good faith, and commit to communicate respectfully and honestly to represent the legitimate needs of both parties. The parties agree not to litigate, nor threaten to do so, and if that should occur, the Collaborative Law process terminates and both attorneys are disqualified from any further involvement in the case. Attorneys hired for a Collaborative Law matter cannot continue to represent their respective clients in a litigated case.

Collaborative Law is not the best option for everyone. The best candidates for the collaborative process are parties who:

a. Want a civilized, respectful resolution of the issues.
b. Would like to keep open the possibility of a friendship with the other party.
c. Will be co-parenting children together and want the best co-parenting relationship possible.
d. Want to protect their children from the harm associated with protracted, contested litigation.
e. Have a circle of friends and family in common.
f. Have ethical or spiritual beliefs that place high value on personal responsibility and integrity.
g. Value privacy in personal affairs.
h. Value control and autonomous decision-making and do not want to hand over decisions about financial distribution and/or child-rearing arrangements to a stranger (i.e., a judge).
i. Recognize the restricted range of outcomes generally available in the court system, and want a more creative and individualized range of choices available for resolving your issues (provided such are compliant with all rules and guidelines).
j. Place as much or more value on the relationships that will exist in the restructured family situation versus a priority of obtaining the maximum possible amount of assets.
k. Understand that conflict resolution with integrity involves achieving mutual, reasonable goals.

If you are considering divorce, find out if Collaborative Law is right for you and your family.


For more information about collaborative divorce in Indiana, contact Harden Jackson Law at www.hardenjacksonlaw.com or 317.569.0770