Articles Tagged with coparenting

ME_23_00_sm-150x150Earlier this year, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld the Rockland District Court’s decision that found a de facto parentage relationship between Jessica Lisio’s two biological children and her transgender domestic partner, Tammy Thorndike. Lisio and Thorndike, who identifies as male, began a relationship and decided to have a child together. In 2009, Lisio and Thorndike registered as domestic partners and later Lisio gave birth to their daughter. Their relationship began to fall apart a few months later, but Thorndike and Lisio maintained their existing parental roles. Thorndike finally moved out and two years later, filed a complaint for a determination of paternity and parental rights and responsibilities, which Lisio opposed, arguing that Thorndike had no parental rights. The Court found that “Thorndike undertook a permanent and responsible parental role in the children’s lives”, and that the children would be negatively affected if Thorndike was removed from their lives.

This case is a prime example of how the laws and court system are delayed and could have been avoided had the two parties taken proactive steps to establish their parental rights and responsibilities. In this case, a second-parent adoption lets the non-biological parent adopt a child without the biological parents losing their rights. Also, if the relationship ends, it still allows the adoptive parent to have custody and visitation rights. It’s important to keep in mind that Indiana has become one of a handful of states that now puts both biological and non-biological married same-sex parents on the birth certificate. Therefore, a second-parent adoption is not always necessary in this scenario. Meet with an experienced adoption and reproductive law attorney to learn more about when a second-parent adoption may be required.

In the many states that don’t recognize second-parent adoption, there is the option of a co-parenting agreement which lays out the intentions of the parents regarding the care of the children. This will help protect the intent of the non-biological parent toward the care of the child in the event that the relationship ends. This decision also strengthens the case for establishment of parentage in non-biological parents that use donor egg, which can sometimes arise in a gestational surrogacy. Many states don’t have clear laws on whether parentage can be established using donor egg, so taking intent into consideration fortifies the argument for establishment of legal parentage in non-biological parents.

5662029278_ea66e0d9bf_qIn 2015, eight female same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Indiana violated their constitutional rights regarding the information on their children’s birth certificates. Until recently, Indiana did not include the non-birth mother or father’s name on the birth certificates of children born into same-sex marriages, and classified these births as “out of wedlock”.  In the 2016 decision, Judge Tanya Walter Pratt of the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana determined that Indiana law regulating birth certificate documentation violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The judge also ruled that the state cannot classify children born to a birth mother who is married to a same-sex spouse as born out of wedlock.

Weeks after the judgment, the state of Indiana sought to amend the order, raising questions of jurisdiction and asking whether the judgment applies to all wives of all birth mothers, or only to wives of birth mothers who conceived through artificial insemination. The judge refused to amend the decision and said, “The order means what it says and says what it means and the law intends to give wives of birth mothers comparable rights to husbands of birth mothers.” With the Supreme Court declaring same-sex marriage legal in the U.S. just over a year ago, this is another great leap in giving same-sex couples equal rights in parenting. Indiana must now name both same sex-parents on their child’s birth certificate if the parents are married, not just the birth mother.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of 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 reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

kids chores.jpgSometimes it’s difficult to determine how much responsibility to give your children. Assigning household chores to your child sends a great message – they are contributing something important to the family. This can benefit your children’s personal development, they learn to take responsibility and to take pride in their work. Scheduling regular chores also helps establish a routine for your children as well.

Below you will find a guide on how to set chores for your children by age. This document also addresses chores in co-parenting relationships.

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.

By: Amanda Glowacki

17.jpgThe use of parenting coordinators is something our office is seeing more and more in domestic relations cases in the Indianapolis area. Like mediation or collaborative law, there is a demand for alternative means of resolving domestic relations cases outside of court. Where appropriate, I believe that Parenting Coordinators can be very beneficial to parents who have high conflict on routine issues. These are issues that that are not necessarily suited for a judge to decide such as parenting time exchanges, daycare, etc.

A Parenting Coordinator (PC) is a court-appointed “special master” tasked to assist parents with the development, implementation, and monitoring of parenting plans in hopes of reducing re-litigation. PCs also help parties and their children adjust to divorce and resolve impasses between parents. Most PCs have experience with family law issues whether it is as an attorney, counselor, or mental health professional. A PC’s authority is specifically defined by the Court through an Order of Appointment prepared by the parties and their attorneys. The order outlines which matters a PC can address as well as confidentiality, length of appointment, authority to request information, fees, etc.

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: