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Family Law

KDDK family law attorneys represent individuals in the drafting and negotiation of pre-marriage contracts and in dissolution of marriage (also known as divorce).

Pre-nuptial Agreements

Marriage is an exciting and celebratory time. KDDK family law attorneys enjoy celebrating this time with our clients and helping them plan for the unexpected.  When two people decide to join each other for life, they also must consider joining their assets.  It is important that no matter what your path in life, you protect yourself and plan for the future.  Our attorneys are experienced in drafting pre-nuptial agreements (“pre-nups”) and advising clients on the legal consequences of marriage.

In Indiana, pre-nuptial agreements are permitted as long as they follow certain legal requirements.  A pre-nup can dictate what will happen in the event of divorce or death, and can deal with all of the decisions that would be made in any future dissolution of marriage action, with the exception of child-related issues.  A pre-nup may not dictate issues of child custody, parenting time and child support.  A well-crafted pre-nuptial agreement will allow the couple to avoid the statutory scheme for distribution of wealth in the event of divorce or death.

Not only do the KDDK family law attorneys advise and draft pre-nuptial agreements, they also counsel on the enforceability of these agreements.  A pre-nup can be considered unenforceable if it was not signed voluntarily, if it was unconscionable at the time of creation (so unjust or one-sided as to be contrary to good conscience), or if unforeseeable circumstances render the spousal maintenance provision as creating undue hardship.  Whether or not the agreement is enforceable is something that must be considered on a case-by-case basis by an experienced KDDK attorney.

Dissolution of Marriage

Unquestionably, divorce brings about difficult and stressful circumstances. We understand that whether the dissolution is an amicable or adversarial one, you need and deserve a partner to guide you through every step of the process and an advocate to ensure your interests are protected. KDDK family law attorneys provide the utmost personal attention, security and confidentiality during every phase of the proceedings.

We are experienced in strategic asset and liability analysis, valuation and distribution of corporate and other business entities, asset transfers, and identifying and crafting settlements in accordance with tax requirements.

Indiana is a “marital pot” state, which means that all property owned by either spouse at the time of the dissolution is considered part of the marital property, regardless of who holds the title.  The standard distribution is to divide marital property equally.  However, if property was obtained through gifts or inheritance, or certain debts were incurred individually, the court may consider those to be outside of the marital pot.  In some cases, property acquired prior to marriage may be considered individual property.  It is important to consult with a KDDK attorney to determine the best strategy in your dissolution of marriage.

Once a petition for dissolution is filed, a provisional hearing is held to determine what happens to the assets, debts, and children before the final hearing.  This order is only temporary until the court can rule at a final hearing, or until a settlement agreement is reached.  Many times, this sets the tone for the rest of the case, so it is important to have a KDDK attorney on your side from the beginning of the proceedings.

Many times, issues in dissolution of marriage can be resolved through mediation, an informal settlement process.  Indiana courts will often order the parties to attempt mediation prior to a trial.  If the issues are settled at mediation, both parties will sign a settlement agreement, which is just as enforceable as if originally ordered by the court.  If mediation is unsuccessful, KDDK attorneys are ready and willing to pursue the case at trial, where the judge will determine the outcome of the case.

Not only are KDDK family law attorneys ready to advise you on financial and property division matters, they are also ready to advise on child custody, child support, and parenting time matters.

Child Custody, Parenting Time, and Child Support

The birth of a child can be one of the most exciting, memorable moments in a person’s life.  However, it can also create concerns about the care and well-being of the child.  The KDDK family law attorneys provide a compassionate, comprehensive approach to issues of child custody, parenting time (commonly known as “visitation”) and child support.  We strive to work with parents to develop practical solutions for each unique situation.

Indiana law is constantly changing.  KDDK attorneys are committed to being up to date on these changes and applying these changes to your specific situation.  We strive to anticipate future issues; and to provide personal attention and an individualized approach to each client.

Often times, agreements regarding child custody and parenting time can be reached through mediation, which is an informal settlement process.  However, if an agreement cannot be reached, KDDK attorneys are willing, eager and well-equipped to litigate these issues in court.  Additionally, KDDK attorneys are ready to enforce settlement agreements and court orders through court action.

Child Custody

Courts use what is called the “best interests of the child” standard when making determinations about child custody.  Child custody is broken into two categories: legal custody and physical custody.  A parent who has legal custody has control over the child’s major life decisions such as education and healthcare.  If both parents are willing and able to communicate amicably, the court may award them joint legal custody.

Physical custody determines with whom the child primarily resides.  If both parents live in close proximity to each other, exhibit a willingness to cooperate, and if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child, the court may award both parents joint physical custody in which each parent equally shares the child’s time.  However, it is more common for one parent to be granted primary physical custody and the other parent to be given parenting time.

Parenting Time

Parenting time (commonly known as “visitation”) is generally ordered pursuant to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines.  However, many times our lawyers pursue deviations in these guidelines to fit our client’s unique circumstances.  The guidelines evolve over time according to the child’s age.  The KDDK family law team is committed to being your consistent counsel throughout your child’s life.

Child Support

Child support is designed by the Indiana courts to financially provide for the needs of the children so that they may enjoy the same lifestyle as they would have if both parents had remained married.  Child support not only covers the basic necessities of life, but anything else the child would need.  Indiana courts use a specific worksheet to calculate the appropriate amount of support. While there typically is not much deviation from these calculations, our attorneys at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn work to ensure that the Court has all of the information available to it to make the most informed decision.

The child support order is typically modified throughout a child’s life to fit the changing circumstances.  An order may only be changed if there is as substantial and continuing change of circumstances.  Our attorneys here at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn are ready to provide advice on whether a child support modification is possible, and the steps needed to achieve it.

Additional Considerations

With the excitement of the birth of a child, you may not immediately think of the expenses that are bound to arise in the future, such as college and medical expenses.  KDDK attorneys are here to provide planning for present and future expenses.

As part of our comprehensive approach to marriage, divorce and child issues, KDDK attorneys also provide counseling on estate planning.  Any major life event necessitates a revised will and financial plan for the future.  Please see our estate planning section for more information.