Indianapolis Family Law Attorney
Divorce and separation can be difficult situations, calling for tough, emotional decisions, particularly when children are involved. Yet the decisions made during a divorce can impact the family dynamic and domestic relations for years to come. The Indiana family law attorneys at Lee Cossell & Feagley, LLP approach your case with caring and sympathy, but also with the legal knowledge and experience necessary to make sure that your rights and best interests are protected now and into the future. Our comprehensive family law practice covers the full spectrum of family law matters, include divorce, separation and adoption.
Indiana Divorce Law
In Indiana, as in other states, it is not necessary to prove that one party is to blame for causing the divorce. Instead, the court can grant a no-fault divorce if it is shown that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” However, there are still many issues to decide in a divorce, including property division, spousal support, child custody and child support, and if the spouses cannot agree on these issues between themselves, the judge will decide these matters following a trial.
Property Division – The court makes an equitable distribution of marital property. Equitable means fair, but it does not necessarily mean equal. To ensure that you are not unfairly treated in the property settlement, we work to locate and identify all assets and debts, and make sure they are properly characterized as marital or separate property and accurately valued.
Spousal Support – Spousal support can be awarded if the judge is convinced it is necessary. Factors the court looks at to determine how much, if any, spousal support to award include the spouses’ education, earning capacity, job skills, and whether an incapacity of the spouse or child would prevent from the spouse from working.
Child Custody – Many factors go into the determination of child custody, including the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the child, the child’s age and sex, and the child’s current attachment to home, school & community. The court can grant sole custody or joint custody over not just the physical care of the children but also the legal responsibility for deciding issues such as their education, religious upbringing, and healthcare. The court generally follows the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines but has discretion to deviate based on the child’s best interests.
Child Support – The court generally requires the noncustodial parent to provide financial support to the parent with sole or primary custody, and the judge has guidelines to follow based on the parents’ income and the child’s healthcare, education and other expenses. As with custody, the court can deviate from the guidelines if convinced by the evidence presented that it would be in the child’s best interests.
Legal Separation in Indiana
Sometimes parties wish to legally separate without the finality of divorce. This may be done for religious or practical reasons, or because there is hope for reconciliation after some time apart. Whatever the reason, a legal separation can help the parties clearly define their relationship and avoid unnecessary disputes that could worsen the situation. A legal separation can deal with all of the issues mentioned above for divorce, including custody and support. Whether the end result is divorce or reconciliation, a legal separation can smooth the transition.
Bringing Families Together Through Adoptions
Family law encompasses more than dissolving legal marital relationships; it includes increasing families as well, such as through adoption. While creating parental rights and responsibilities, adoption also may involve terminating the parental rights of other parties. Where consent cannot be obtained, legal action may be necessary to prove that the adoption is in the child’s best interests. We represent parties in step-parent adoptions, agency adoptions, and private placement and international adoptions to help see that your rights are protected and your goals are achieved.
Experienced Legal Help for Your Indiana Divorce or Family Law Matter
For knowledgeable and experienced advice and representation in your Indiana divorce, adoption or other family law matter, contact Lee Cossell & Feagley, LLP at our Indianapolis office to speak to a family law attorney dedicated to helping you reach your goals.