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IBA: What Every Woman Should Know to Protect Herself in the Event of Divorce

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By Amy Carson, Laura Gaskill, Robin Kelly and Gloria K. Mitchell, all of Mitchell & Associates

Advising clients contemplating divorce varies with the style of the attorney. Even so, there are fundamental issues every woman considering or beginning the divorce process should know to protect herself financially. 

Divorce Fundamentals. Indiana is a no-fault state, meaning that the reason for the divorce is not relevant to the court. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage generally states that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and it should be dissolved. After the petition if filed, there is a required 60-day cooling off period before the divorce can be final.

Date of filing. The date a Petition for Dissolution is filed is the date a court looks at to determine what is in the marital estate, both assets and debts. Any assets acquired/earned or debts incurred after the date of filing will generally not go into the marital estate and belong solely to the party who accrued the asset or incurred the debt.

Division of Assets. Indiana follows the “one pot theory,” meaning that any assets or debts brought into the marriage, or acquired during the marriage, are included in the marital estate, unless there is a prenuptial agreement indicating otherwise. The presumption is that the marital estate is divided 50/50; however, either party can attempt to persuade the judge that 50/50 would not be fair.

Spousal Maintenance. Indiana is not an alimony state, which means a court cannot order that alimony be paid unless the parties both agree that alimony should be paid; since the payment of alimony may be financially advantageous to both parties, this kind of agreement is uncommon. Spousal maintenance, however, can be ordered by the court. There are three instances when a court can order that one spouse pay maintenance to the other. These include the following: when a spouse is the custodian of a child with physical/mental incapacity such that it impairs that spouse’s ability to work; or if a spouse is physically/mentally incapacitated such that he/she cannot work; or if a spouse is in need of rehabilitative maintenance because he/she needs training or schooling in order to re-enter the workforce.•

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  1. Bob Leonard killed two people named Jennifer and Dion Longworth. There were no Smiths involved.

  2. Being on this journey from the beginning has convinced me the justice system really doesn't care about the welfare of the child. The trial court judge knew the child belonged with the mother. The father having total disregard for the rules of the court. Not only did this cost the mother and child valuable time together but thousands in legal fees. When the child was with the father the mother paid her child support. When the child was finally with the right parent somehow the father got away without having to pay one penny of child support. He had to be in control. Since he withheld all information regarding the child's welfare he put her in harms way. Mother took the child to the doctor when she got sick and was totally embarrassed she knew nothing regarding the medical information especially the allergies, The mother texted the father (from the doctors office) and he replied call his attorney. To me this doesn't seem like a concerned father. Seeing the child upset when she had to go back to the father. What upset me the most was finding out the child sleeps with him. Sometimes in the nude. Maybe I don't understand all the rules of the law but I thought this was also morally wrong. A concerned parent would allow the child to finish the school year. Say goodbye to her friends. It saddens me to know the child will not have contact with the sisters, aunts, uncles and the 87 year old grandfather. He didn't allow it before. Only the mother is allowed to talk to the child. I don't think now will be any different. I hope the decision the courts made would've been the same one if this was a member of their family. Someday this child will end up in therapy if allowed to remain with the father.

  3. Ok attorney Straw ... if that be a good idea ... And I am not saying it is ... but if it were ... would that be ripe prior to her suffering an embarrassing remand from the Seventh? Seems more than a tad premature here soldier. One putting on the armor should not boast liked one taking it off.

  4. The judge thinks that she is so cute to deny jurisdiction, but without jurisdiction, she loses her immunity. She did not give me any due process hearing or any discovery, like the Middlesex case provided for that lawyer. Because she has refused to protect me and she has no immunity because she rejected jurisdiction, I am now suing her in her district.

  5. Sam Bradbury was never a resident of Lafayette he lived in rural Tippecanoe County, Thats an error.

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