Family Law

When you are having family issues that may lead to divorce, including child and spousal abuse situations, you need to protect your interests and/or the interests of your children. Family law issues can be as simple as both spouses agreeing to everything or as difficult as fighting over custody, assets, real estate and liabilities.

Simple Divorce

A simple divorce is when both parties agree on everything. Our Merrillville, IN attorneys will draft a settlement agreement that respects both parties wishes while protecting your interests. Once the agreement has been drafted and signed by both parties, you will attend a short final hearing wherein the court ratifies the agreement and enters a final judgment of dissolution of marriage.

Mediation

Sometimes the parties start out not agreeing to everything – or even anything. After the documents have been filed, you still have a chance to shorten the process by attending mediation. If both parties can come to an agreement using the mediation process, the court ratifies the signed agreement and enters a final judgment of dissolution of marriage.

When you attend mediation, if both parties have attorneys, the attorneys will be present. A third neutral party, often another attorney, is the mediator. The attorneys and mediator help you come to a fair agreement.

Child Support and Alimony

Child support is determined by using a formula based on each party’s income to determine how much each parent should contribute to the needs of the child. If both parties make exactly the same amount of money, the parents will pay an equal amount of money each week. If the father makes 20 percent more than the mother, then the father pays 20 percent more in child support than the mother. Indiana refers to this formula as “income shares.”

Spousal support is a different matter. Indiana does not use a formula to calculate support, but looks at a number of factors including the parties current and future earnings. It also looks at how property has been or will be divided during the divorce and several other factors. It is best to retain experienced family law attorneys if your spouse is requesting spousal support.

Equitable Distribution

The court starts out presuming that the parties should equally divide the property contained in the marital estate. If a party can show why he or she should get more than 50 percent, the court will entertain those ideas and make a decision. If the parties agree that one party shall have more than the other or shall trade one asset for another in an agreement, the court will usually accept the agreement.

The court uses several factors to determine ownership of property including whether the property was procured prior to the marriage or whether the property was a gift. It also considers the economic circumstances of the parties and several other issues.

If you are going through a divorce or have been served with divorce and have children, real estate, retirement accounts and liabilities, you should contact an attorney at Olsen Legal Group Ltd. of Merrillville, IN to advise you of your rights regarding these and other divorce/separation issues.