Family Law

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    Divorce Procedures

    Divorce ProceduresIf you are contemplating a divorce, meeting with an attorney is oftentimes a very difficult first step. Attorney Anna K. Christodoulakis offers free consultations and will work closely with you to understand your specific circumstances and custom-tailor a plan to your specific needs.

    The divorce process in Indiana has three general stages, 1) Filing for Divorce, 2) the Provisional Hearing and 3) the Final Hearing…

    …Attorney Anna K. Christodoulakis can help you navigate the divorce process at every stage.

    Filing for Divorce

    The first step in the divorce process is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Your case will be assigned to a judge or magistrate and copies of the paper will be served on your spouse. The date of filing is important because assets and debts, for later division, are usually assessed at their value at the date of filing.

    Provisional Hearing

    When you file for divorce, the Court will also schedule a Provisional Hearing. At this hearing, the Court will Order or you and your spouse will enter into an Agreement regarding temporary possession of the marital home, vehicles, payment of debts, and child support, custody, and parenting time if you have children. In many counties in Northwest Indiana, if you have children, you and your spouse will also have to attend a parenting class.

    Final Hearing

    Divorces in Indiana will not be finalized until 60 days have passed since the date of filing. However, after 60 days either a Final Hearing will be scheduled for a judge or magistrate to decide on the final division of the assets, and child support, child custody, and parenting time if appropriate, or you and your spouse can enter into a final agreement. Under Indiana law, marital assets and debts are presumed to be divided 50/50 between you and your spouse unless otherwise agreed to ordered by a judge or magistrate.


    Child Custody and Parenting Time

    Child Support and Child CustodyChild custody and a parenting time schedule is established either at the time of final divorce or when paternity of a child is established and who receives custody of the child is based on the best interests of the child. There are two different forms of custody, physical and legal custody, which will be established. Physical custody refers to where the child is physically located. Many times, parents share physical custody of the child, meaning either the child spends equal time with each parent…

    …or one parent is the primary custodial parent and the other parent is the non-custodial parent that has parenting time. Legal custody refers to major decisions regarding a child’s life, specifically education, religion, and health care. After custody and parenting time is established, you can request a modification of custody if there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances.

    Child Support

    Child support is established either at the time of final divorce or when paternity of a child is established. Child support is calculated by utilizing each parent’s gross income, the health insurance premium cost, day care expenses, child support for children from another marriage, and whether either parent has subsequent children. The court will also take into account how many overnights per year each parent has with the child or children. After child support is established a modification is possible if there is a continual and substantial change in circumstances you may ask the Court to change the child support order to reflect the change.

    It is important to note that child support is terminated at the age of 19, though there are few exceptions to this general rule. It is important to hire an attorney with experience in family law when your child turns 19 to ensure that the child is emancipated and your child support obligation is terminated.

    Paternity

    Paternity proceedings in Indiana courts cannot only serve to determine the biological father of a child born out of wedlock, but also to establish physical custody, legal custody, parenting time, and child support. The Court may also order a name change of the child once paternity is established.


    Adoption

    Adoption and GuardianshipAre you looking to bring a child into your loving home? Or maybe you are seeking to adopt your step –child or grandchild? Adoption is a joyous event and it is important to hire an experienced attorney to ensure that all legal requirements are closely followed. In most instances, adoptions can be finalized in a one day hearing if the a judge or magistrate finds that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. However, because of the in depth preparation needed for the…

    …finalization of the adoption, it is important to hire an experienced attorney. Attorney Anna K. Christodoulakis has finalized many adoptions, including newborn adoption, re-adoptions, step-parent adoptions, and grandparent adoptions and is fully equipped to help you expand your family through adoption.

    Guardianship

    A guardianship is when a Court determines that it is in the best interest of a child for a person other than the child’s parent to care for him or her. The guardian will have the right to make all decisions concerning the child and will have custody and control of the child. In addition, a guardian may have additional responsibilities if the child has assets. In certain situations, a Court may order the child’s mother and/or father to pay child support to the guardian. A guardianship lasts until the child turns 18 or until the court terminates the guardianship.


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