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Indianapolis Family Law Blog

Questions you must ask when ordered to pay child support

As you get closer to a divorce, you realize that you are going to be ordered to pay child support. You cannot see any way around it. While you do not mind paying because you want to help your children, you also realize that you need to learn as much as possible about child support obligations before they begin.

To help you get started, here are a few important questions to ask:

  • How long do you need to pay? Does the child support last until the child is 18? What if he or she has special needs? Then can it last longer? How much longer?
  • Does your child custody arrangement impact how much you have to pay? For instance, will you pay more if your co-parent gets sole custody and you just visit the kids, compared to what you would pay if custody was split 50/50?
  • Does the support requirement change if your former spouse gets remarried? Does the stepfather have any liability?
  • Do you have to pay child support even if you and the child's other parent never married?
  • What rules does Indiana use to determine how much you will need to pay? How much do factors like standard of living, income differences and the child's specific needs impact the case?
  • Can you ask for an alteration if something changes? If you lose your job, for instance, can you get the payments lowered?

5 tips for that post-divorce road trip with the kids

This is the first summer of your divorce. The kids are out of school, and you would love to take them on a road trip. You know it is bound to be different than when you were married, but you are excited to get away for a while and make some memories.

This can get complicated. Use these five tips to help:

  1. Plan in advance. Never put if off. Honestly, plan too far in advance. Talk to your ex and make sure the trip can happen before you start paying for anything.
  2. Consider your custody agreement. Does your scheduling have any flexibility? What are you obligated to tell your ex? Do you need his or her permission before taking the kids out of state?
  3. Create an exact schedule. You share custody of your children, so this is not time to act impulsively. Plan a schedule and stick to it. Make sure your ex knows when you plan to pick the kids up, where you're going and when you expect to return. Communication is critical.
  4. Consider all documentation needed if you cross any borders. Do the children need passports? Do you need written permission from your ex?
  5. Always put the children first. This should be your main goal with every decision you and your ex make. It applies to trips, as well. Consider what they want, how this impacts their lives and what decisions are best for them.

Subtle divorce warning signs

Divorce warning signs are not always as obvious as a public shouting match at a gathering with friends and family. You do not always come home to find your spouse in bed with someone else. These things do happen, but many relationships deteriorate far more slowly, working their way toward divorce as two people drift apart. Often, the warning signs are very subtle.

For instance, perhaps you and your spouse have similar schedules, and you always go to bed at the same time every night. When this stops happening, it can be a red flag. Why aren't you in sync anymore?

Judges and owners look at dogs differently in divorce

You think of your dog as the third member of your family, and the two of you have an especially close bond. You let the dog sleep in your bed every night, and he always sleeps on your side. You take the dog for two walks every day, you give him food and water, and you have plenty of memories of playing fetch at the park and lounging together on the hammock.

Your spouse, on the other hand, merely tolerates your dog. The two do not have much of a bond at all. If the dog gets to choose who to go by, it is you every time.

3 myths that make people think fathers shouldn't get custody

Fortunately, bias in child custody cases has been changing over the years. The traditional view was that mothers were better suited to care for children and fathers were better suited to provide financially for a family. That meant mothers tended to get custody rights while fathers were asked to pay child support.

The more modern view is that both parents can have -- and should have -- an equal role. Mothers can work and provide for the family. Fathers can care for the kids and spend time with them.

Is offshore banking illegal?

Have you gotten the idea that offshore banking is illegal? Whenever you hear about it, do you think of movies about tax evasion, drug running and other such activities?

People often have a bit of a mixed-up idea when it comes to offshore banking, probably because of the way it is portrayed in film and popular culture. The reality is that offshore banking is not illegal. You do not have to keep all of your money at banks in the United States if you don't want to.

Watch out for parental abduction warning signs

Parental abduction happens when one parent takes the child outside of the state or even the country without the permission of the other parent.

For instance, perhaps you and your spouse got divorced, and you have joint custody of your child, who lives with you for a week and then with your ex for a week. Your ex has always said that he or she should have gotten sole custody,. Then he or she takes your child overseas during the week they spend together, refusing to come back.

Ideas for bonding with kids even with limited time

As you and your spouse split up custody of your children, you realize that your time with them will be limited. Half of the time, they're going to live with your ex. You will need to make those days that you do get with them really count.

How do you do it? Take a proactive approach. Commit to making the most of every hour and every day. Think outside of the box. Remember that spending time with your child is more than a responsibility. Below are a few things you can do to bond with them quickly.

  1. Get outside and explore. It's about more than just getting away from the television. These shared experiences are exciting and unique. You're making memories.
  2. Teach your children new skills. Find out what they enjoy and help them develop. You can teach them how to ride bikes, play the piano, throw a baseball, play video games, go swimming or anything else you enjoy together. You'll love watching them learn and grow.
  3. Talk about your own childhood. Tell them about the funny things you did and the adventures you had. This helps them see you in a different light -- more than a stern parent -- and they'll connect with you.
  4. Go on a road trip. It doesn't have to be long. Just a day trip is enough to explore and see more of the world. You may have to clear this with your ex, depending on your divorce agreement, but it's a good way to do something new and fun.

Does a divorce agreement guarantee mortgage payments?

You and your spouse took out a mortgage together. When you got divorced, your ex decided to keep the home. You got other assets equaling the value of the money you would have gained through a sale.

However, your ex could afford to refinance the home on just one income. Instead of doing so and getting your name off of the loan, you just put in the divorce agreement that your ex is responsible for paying the mortgage until the home is sold or the payments naturally end.

Same-sex divorcees face additional hurdles when dividing assets

Same-sex couples have enjoyed the same right to marriage as opposite-sex couples in Indiana for years now. While that brings with it a lot of freedom, it also leads to same-sex divorce cases. In some situations, these couples could face hurdles that other couples would not.

For instance, take the property division process. It happens with every divorce. A married couple splits up their assets so that both take a share away from the marriage.