Family Law FAQ

Family Law FAQ

Family Law FAQs


Why might I need a family law attorney?

Family law attorneys assist clients in the areas of adoption, contempt, divorce, guardianship, modification, paternity and protective orders. Attorneys deal with issues such as the following:

  • Custody
  • College education payment
  • Determining child support
  • Collecting child support
  • Emancipation
  • Life insurance protection
  • Parenting time/visitation
  • Pension division
  • Property division
  • Restoring the maiden name



How can Haggerty Haggerty and Maschmeyer help me with family law issues?

For many years, family law was a part of the general practice of small firms and sole-practitioners, with general rules and procedures. Modern laws have greatly increased the complexity of this area of the law. No longer can an attorney dabble in simple divorce, because simple divorces no longer exist.

Our firm has the knowledge to guide you through the complex calculations, financial disclosures, and legal issues ranging from property, business and pension division. We also have the necessary experience to deal with custody, support payment and parenting time/visitation issues.

As mediation takes a larger role in the settlement negotiation process, attorneys engaged in family law must understand the importance of mediation. We are called upon by other attorneys to mediate their clients' cases. This experience aides us in guiding our clients through the potential minefields of mediation.


How do I schedule an appointment and what information should I bring with me?

We offer a free, brief telephone consultation with an attorney. We also offer an initial office consultation at one-half the normal hourly rate. A retainer is collected prior to our beginning work on your case, as a pre-payment toward anticipated legal fees. This is not the entire fee, but an estimate or range of fees is given, following the initial office consultation. A payment plan is also established at this time.

In order to make your initial office consultation as efficient and effective as possible, we ask, but do not require, that you complete the PDF financial declaration form and also bring any supporting documentation.

Please contact Jay or Jon at 317-786-2225 to schedule an appointment and for driving directions. We look forward to serving you.


What factors does the Court consider for property division?

IC 31-15-7-4
Division of Property

Sec. 4. (a) In an action for dissolution for marriage under IC 31-15-2-2, the court shall divide the property of the parties, whether:

  • (1) owned by either spouse before the marriage;
  • (2) acquired by either spouse in his or her right:
    • (A) after the marriage; and
    • (B) before final separation of the parties; or
  • (3) acquired by their joint efforts.

(b) The court shall divide the property in a just and reasonable manner by:

  • (1) division of the property in kind;
  • (2) setting the property or parts of the property over to one (1) of the spouses and requiring either spouse to pay an amount, either in gross or installments, that is just and proper;
  • (3) ordering the sale of the property under such conditions as the court prescribes and dividing the proceeds of the sale; or
  • (4) ordering the distribution of benefits described in IC 31-9-2-98(b)(2) or IC 31-9-2-98(b)(3) that are payable after the dissolution of marriage, by setting aside to either of the parties a percentage of those payments either by assignment or in kind at the time of receipt.

As added by P.L. 1-1997, SEC.7.


IC 31-15-7-5 Presumption for equal division of martial property; rebuttal

Sec. 5. The court shall presume that an equal division of the marital property between the parties is just and reasonable. However, this presumption may be rebutted by a party who presents relevant evidence, including evidence concerning the following factors, that an equal division would not be just and reasonable:

  • (1) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property, regardless of whether the contribution was income producing.
  • (2) The extent to which the property was acquired by each spouse:
    • (A) before the marriage; or
    • (B) through inheritance or gift.
  • (3) The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the disposition of the property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family residence of the right to dwell in the family residence for such periods as the court considers just to the spouse having custody of any children.
  • (4) The conduct of the parties during the marriage as related to the disposition or dissipation of their property.
  • (5) The earnings or earning ability of the parties related to:
    • (A) a final division of property; and
    • (B) a final determination of the property rights of the parties.

As added by P.L.1-1997, Sec.7.



What factors does the court consider in determining which party should have custody of the children?

IC 31-17-2-8 Custody order
Sec. 8. The court shall determine custody and enter a custody order in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, there is no presumption favoring either parent. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following:

  • (1) The age and sex of the child.
  • (2) The wishes of the child's parent or parents.
  • (3) The wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age.
  • (4) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with:
    • (A) the child's parent or parents;
    • (B) the child's sibling; and
    • (C) any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests.
  • (5) The child's adjustment to the child's:
    • (A) home;
    • (B) school;
    • (C) community.
  • (6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  • (7) Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent.
  • (8) Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian, and if the evidence is sufficient, the court shall consider the factors described in section 8.5(b) of this chapter.

As added by P.L. 1-1997, SEC.9. Amended by P.L. 96-1999, SEC.7; P.L. 133-2002, SEC.32.


How long does my child support obligation last and how do I stop child support when my children are grown or emancipated?

31-16-6-6 Termination of child support; emancipation; petition for educational needs

Sec. 6. (a) The duty to support a child under this chapter, which does not include support for educational needs, ceases when the child becomes nineteen (19) years of age unless any of the following conditions occurs:

(1) The child is emancipated before becoming nineteen (19) years of age. In this case the child support, except for the educational needs outlined in section 2(a)(1) of this chapter, terminates at the time of emancipation, although an order for educational needs may continue in effect until further order of the court.
(2) The child is incapacitated. In this case the child support continues during the incapacity or until further order of the court.
(3) The child:

(A) is at least eighteen (18) years of age;
(B) has not attended a secondary school or postsecondary educational institution for the prior four (4) months and is not enrolled in a secondary school or postsecondary educational institution; and
(C) is or is capable of supporting himself or herself through employment.

In this case the child support terminates upon the court's finding that the conditions prescribed in this subdivision exist. However, if the court finds that the conditions set forth in clauses (A) through (C) are met but that the child is only partially supporting or is capable of only partially supporting himself or herself, the court may order that support be modified instead of terminated.

(b) For purposes of determining if a child is emancipated under subsection (a)(1), if the court finds that the child:

(1) is on active duty in the United States armed services;
(2) has married; or
(3) is not under the care or control of:

(A) either parent; or
(B) an individual or agency approved by the court;
the court shall find the child emancipated and terminate the child support.

(c) If a court has established a duty to support a child in a court order issued before July 1, 2012, the:

(1) parent or guardian of the child; or
(2) child;
may file a petition for educational needs until the child becomes twenty-one (21) years of age.

(d) If a court has established a duty to support a child in a court order issued after June 30, 2012, the:

(1) parent or guardian of the child; or
(2) child;
may file a petition for educational needs until the child becomes nineteen (19) years of age.

(e) If:

(1) an order was issued after June 30, 2012, that denied support for educational needs to a child who was less than twenty-one (21) years of age at the time the petition for educational needs was filed; and
(2) support for educational needs was denied based on the fact that the child was older than eighteen (18) years of age;
notwithstanding any other law, a parent or guardian of the child or the child may file with the court a subsequent petition for educational needs. The court shall consider the petition on the merits in accordance with this section and may not consider the absence of subsection (c) from law at the time of the initial filing.

As added by  P.L.207-2013, SEC.45.


How does the court determine my child support obligation?

IC 31-16-6-1 Child support orders; relevant factors; account at financial institution
Sec. 1. (a) In an action for dissolution of marriage under IC 31-15-2, legal separation under IC 31-15-3, or child support under IC 31-16-2, the court may order either parent or both parents to pay any amount reasonable for support of a child, without regard to marital misconduct, after considering all relevant factors, including:


  • the financial resources of the custodial parent;
  • the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if:
    • (A) the marriage had not been dissolved; or
    • (B) the separation had not been ordered;
  • (3) the physical or mental condition of the child and the child's educational needs; and
  • (4) the financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.

(b) The court shall order a custodial parent or third party under IC 31-16-10-1 who receives child support to obtain an account at a financial institution unless:

  • (1) the custodial parent or third party files a written objection before a child support order is issued; and
  • (2) the court finds that good cause exists to exempt the custodial parent or third party from the account requirement. A custodial parent or third party ordered to obtain an account shall provide the clerk of the circuit court or other person or entity acting as assignee or trustee for remittance with an account number and any other information necessary to transfer funds to the account.
    • (c) In accordance with its policies, a financial institution may restrict or deny services to a person ordered to obtain an account under this section.
    • (d) This section may not be construed to require the clerk of the circuit court to remit child support payments by electronic funds transfer.

As added by P.L. 1-1997, SEC.8. Amended by P.L.86-2002, SEC.9.



Where can I go to calculate the child support obligation?

Indiana Child Support Calculator


What are the rules concerning temporary spousal maintenance and alimony?

IC 31-15-7-2 Findings concerning maintenance
Sec. 2. A court may make the following findings concerning maintenance:

  • (1) If the court finds a spouse to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the ability of the incapacitated spouse to support himself or herself is materially affected, the court may find that maintenance for the spouse is necessary during the period of incapacity, subject to further order of the court.
  • (2) If the court finds that:
    • a spouse lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for the spouse's needs; and
    • the spouse is the custodian of a child whose physical or mental incapacity requires the custodian to forgo employment; the court may find that maintenance is necessary for the spouse in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate.
  • (3) After considering:
    • (A) the educational level of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time the action commenced;
    • (B) whether an interruption in the education, training, or employment of a spouse who is seeking maintenance occurred during the marriage as a result of homemaking or child care responsibilities, or both;
    • (C) the earning capacity of each spouse; including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence in or absence from the job market; and
    • (D) the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse who is seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment; a court may find that rehabilitative maintenance for the spouse seeking maintenance is necessary in an amount and for a period of time that the court considers appropriate, but not to exceed three (3) years from the date of the final decree.

As added by P.L. 1-1997, SEC.7.


What are my parenting time or visitation rights?

Parenting Time Rules


Where might I go for non-legal family related services?

· Mental Health Treatment

· Parenting Skills
Families in Transition, Johnson County Youth Service Bureau, Inc.: 317-738-3273
Children Cope with Divorce in Marion and Morgan Counties: 1-877-840-COPE

· To Report Child Abuse or Neglect

· Real Estate Evaluation
Scott Baer with Carpenter Realtors: 317-738-3737
Kathy Merrett with Tomorrow Realty: 317-881-6407
Byron Mathis with Re/Max Accord: 317-881-3700

· Tax Issues - Firm CPA Kevin Sears: 812-333-0737

We ask that you visit your Church, Parish, Synagogue or Family Physician for a referral in the areas of marital, individual and child counseling.


Establishing paternity

According to the Indianan Department of Child Services, establishing paternity simply means establishing who the legal father of a child is. Fatherhood is presumed if the man and his wife were legally married when the child was born. If a child is born after a man and a woman end their marriage, fatherhood is still presumed if the child was born no more than 300 days after the dissolution took place. In all other cases, a court order or a paternity affidavit is required.

The paternity affidavit allows a man and a woman, under "penalty of perjury," that the man is the biological father of the child.  It can be completed at the hospital within 72 hours of the child's birth, or at the health department any time after, so long as the child has not been emancipated.

Court orders may be filed by either parent with the court, and the court will hold a hearing.  It may be determined that genetic testing is required: if so, the court may retain the right to hold off a decision until the tests are returned.

Haggerty, Haggerty and Maschmeyer
3045 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, Indiana, 46217 USA