Articles Tagged with “divorce in indiana”

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?

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.

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.


  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.

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:

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.

1267479_broken_heart_pic.jpgCollaborative 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:

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