Divorce

Justices: Ex-wife must agree to lower sales price

July 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously held that a trial court had no authority to modify a property agreement made by ex-spouses and that the ex-wife is entitled by law to refuse to waive a provision that neither party had to accept a sale that was below specified minimums.
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Appeals court upholds, tweaks division of IRA in divorce

July 5, 2012
Dave Stafford
A husband’s individual retirement account is a divisible asset in a divorce, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, but it ordered the trial court to revise the award to reflect an equal division of both parties’ assets.
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Judges find no error in division of marital assets

June 26, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the equal division of marital assets of a divorcing LaPorte County couple but found the trial court erred in its calculation of how much the ex-husband owes in child support.
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Trial court erred in excluding evidence of mediation communications

June 13, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the trial court erred in excluding an ex-husband’s offer of evidence of communications during a settlement agreement following his divorce to establish a mistake occurred in drafting the agreement, the error was harmless, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. This case raised an issue of first impression regarding whether communications during mediation can be used as extrinsic evidence.
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Mother's actions support contempt finding

April 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld finding a mother in contempt of court for not dismissing a protective order against her ex-husband as required by their dissolution decree. The judges also affirmed the award of compensatory damages and attorney fees to the father, but reversed a 10-day sentence imposed for future violations.
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Justices rule for first time on FEGLIA preemption issue

March 14, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute between two ex-wives over the life insurance policy of their deceased husband, the Indiana Supreme Court has ordered the trial court determine how much money each woman is entitled to.
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Mother's prior statement undermines argument on appeal

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
A mother who appealed a court’s order acknowledging that her ex-husband is the father of her child cannot prove that the court abused its discretion.
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Comment sought on proposed changes to parenting time guidelines

February 8, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Judicial Center’s Domestic Relations Committee is seeking comment on proposed changes to the parenting time guidelines, which includes parenting coordination guidelines.
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Collaborative divorce offers closure for clients, demands less attorney time

January 18, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
Attorneys say collaborative divorce works for clients who hope to avoid the courtroom.
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Court clarifies original ruling on spousal maintenance

December 13, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
On rehearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals addressed the issue of an ex-husband’s ability to pay incapacity maintenance to his spouse, but affirmed its original opinion in all respects.
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Husband allowed to petition for survivor's allowance

December 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Even though a wife had filed for divorce from her husband at the time she was killed, the husband is still allowed to petition for survivor’s allowance, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday.
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Appellate court finds mother wasn't in contempt

November 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a mother that the Clark Circuit Court erred in finding her in contempt for not putting her teenage daughter on a plane to Florida to visit the teen’s father over Christmas break. The appellate court did agree with the trial court that the mom should have to pay for another flight to visit the father.
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Judges extend due process safeguards regarding interpreters to civil cases

October 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court must take the same steps in a civil action as it does in a criminal action regarding the use of an interpreter in order to address due process concerns, the Indiana Court of Appeals held for the first time Tuesday.
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Proposed rules provide uniformity for parenting coordinators

May 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The use of parenting coordinators is increasing around the state. But depending on where you are in Indiana, the authority of the parenting coordinator – PC – may differ. In an effort to create uniformity, rules are being proposed that would regulate the role and authority of PCs.
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Judges order modification of dissolution decree

May 5, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial court abused its discretion when it didn’t consider a $160,000 change in value of a property when calculating marital assets and distributing marital property.
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Committees propose new rules for parenting coordination

April 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Domestic Relations Committee and Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana have developed proposed parenting coordination rules and commentary. Parenting coordinators are used to help resolve disputes between parents regarding children. Currently, there are no existing Indiana Supreme Court rules covering the area.
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Open house Thursday for court agency office

April 20, 2011
IL Staff
The Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau is holding an open house Thursday for its new offices in the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis. The 40-year-old court agency provides recommendations to the court for custody and visitation.
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Judges split on child support modification

March 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues, finding their decision regarding child support promotes “formalism over fairness and legalism over common sense.”
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COA: Summons should notify of risk of default judgment

February 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Due process requires that a respondent in a dissolution proceeding be notified of the risk of default for not appearing or otherwise responding, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. The judges reversed a couple’s decree of dissolution, ruling it was void because the summons served on the wife was insufficient.
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Justices adopt COA adoption holding, invite attorney fee motions

February 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer on a St. Joseph County adoption case and fully adopted a holding by the state’s intermediate appellate court. In doing so, the state justices invited the prevailing biological mother to request attorney fees because of what it found to be possible frivolous or bad faith efforts.
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Justices uphold modification of physical custody to father

February 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices granted transfer today to Mariea L. Best v. Russell C. Best, No. 06S05-1102-CV-73, and affirmed a special judge’s decision to grant a father physical custody of his daughter M.B. They held the trial court made the necessary findings to support the modification.
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Judges reverse support modification for lack of jurisdiction

November 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling that Illinois proceedings on child support were null because jurisdiction was never properly transferred, noting it found an ex parte proceeding that excluded the mother “extremely troubling.”
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Diversity issues affect family lawRestricted Content

November 10, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While family law cases can be complicated – especially if children are involved and a case has ended up in front of a judge after the parties couldn’t come to an agreement on their own through mediation – the issues only get more complicated when fundamental differences exist between the parties.
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Juvenile's records not protected by counselor/client privilege

October 20, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Howard Superior Court erred in finding that the counselor/client privilege prevented the admission of a son’s counseling records during a custody modification hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Vested employer-provided health-insurance premiums are an asset

September 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held that employer-provided health-insurance benefits constitute an asset once they have vested in a party to the marriage, and addressed for the first time the possible methods of valuing these benefits in marriage dissolution. This conclusion led one justice to dissent because it disrupts existing dissolution property division law.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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