Whether your legal needs involve pre-trial settlement through negotiations or mediation or appearing in court before a judge or magistrate, we will provide the strongest advocacy for you. Our attorneys have the experience and skill to present your demands and legal arguments through mediation, arbitration and representation in court.
It is our mission to assist you in what often are difficult circumstances. Because of the sensitive nature of many family law cases, each case is handled with discretion and compassion. While you may be dealing with uncertainty associated with a change in family structure, our job is to alleviate your concerns and to help you look at your case calmly and objectively.
Fletcher Van Gilder attorneys have many years of family law experience, and they welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your legal needs.
Elements to the divorce process
Regardless of where you are in the divorce process, there are several elements to consider:
- Child custody: If you and your spouse are unable to agree upon a custody and visitation plan for your children, the court will base its decision on Indiana law.
- Child support: When determining child support, Indiana courts look at factors such as the parties’ income, number of children and parenting time arrangements.
- Visitation: Indiana law is designed to afford the noncustodial parent a reasonable amount of visitation (parenting time).
- Property division (division of assets): When a couple divorces in the state of Indiana, their property (assets and debts) is divided in a fair but not necessarily equal fashion.
- Spousal support: Spousal support may be awarded to either party and is usually determined by considering factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial needs of the parties and each party’s respective income.
Child custody and modification
When parents divorce, they often recognize their top priority is to protect the best interests of their child(ren). However, the potential for conflict is very high during and after a divorce, so disputes over child custody and visitation frequently arise. At Fletcher Van Gilder we understand you are going through an emotionally challenging time. Our experienced attorneys will do their best to make you comfortable with this difficult process from the moment you first call. We encourage you to contact us to set up an appointment.
Custody decisions in Indiana
To determine the “best interests of the child,” Indiana Courts consider eight factors set forth in the Indiana Code when making a custody determination:
- Age and sex of child/children
- Wishes of each parent
- Wishes of the child/children (after the child turns 14 years of age, the court will give more consideration to his or her wants and desires)
- Relationship between child and parent/s, as well as any siblings or other person who has the ability to significantly affect the child
- Adjustment of the child to his or her home, school and community
- Mental and physical health of each party involved
- Evidence of domestic or family violence by either parent
- Evidence that the child is being or has been cared for by a de facto custodian
Our custody attorneys have worked with all of the above issues, and we understand how important your family is to you. To that end, we will put our negotiation skills to work in an effort to achieve a favorable solution for everyone involved. Generally, it is in your best interest to resolve your case by mediation or informal negotiation efforts. If, however, that does not happen, we have proven trial attorneys who will vigorously assert and defend your rights.
If you are facing a child custody or parenting time legal matter, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your situation. To meet one on one with one of our Fort Wayne child custody lawyers, please call 260-425-9777.
Protecting the rights of your child
At Fletcher Van Gilder LLP, we understand how important it is to have financial resources to adequately care for your child. We also recognize that this can be especially difficult during or after a divorce. As experienced child support attorneys, we will work on your behalf to ensure that your child’s most basic needs are met, giving you the financial security you need to move forward in your new life.
Child support modification
The state of Indiana defers to specific child support guidelines when calculating the amount of child support that will be awarded or owed. There are several factors that go into this calculation, including:
- Amount of parenting time between custodial and noncustodial parents
- Income of both parties, including overtime pay and bonuses
- Health insurance costs
- Expected day care expenses
- Extracurricular activities for children
We share your desire to develop an agreement that satisfies your goals, while completely supporting your child’s best interests. Whether you’re a custodial parent who feels as though the amount of support your child receives is too low, or a noncustodial parent who is finding it difficult to make the child support payments you are currently ordered to make, we will work to obtain resolutions.
Modifications of child support require court approval. You cannot change your agreement without informing the Court. Our attorneys always attempt to resolve this out of court, which will save you money; however, court appearances are often necessary. When you come in to our office to discuss your case, we encourage you to be prepared to compromise. Bring with you proof of income, tax returns, pay stubs, etc. This information will assist our lawyers as they try to resolve your legal matter as efficiently and effectively as possible. Please call us at 260-425-9777 or contact us online.
Child visitation — helping you understand your rights
If you are a parent, you know how important it is to forge and maintain meaningful relationships with your children. If you are unable to spend meaningful time with them, those relationships suffer. This can be made more difficult if you do not have a good relationship with the child’s other parent.
At Fletcher Van Gilder LLP we understand your desire to secure an adequate amount of parenting and visitation time with your children. Our lawyers do more than represent your legal rights. We also advocate for the best interests of your children. For answers to your visitation questions, or to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family law attorneys, contact us to discuss your situation.
Courts determine visitation agreements by consulting the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. These guidelines can be modified, but a skilled, experienced attorney can advise you of consequences if you deviate from the guidelines. Courts interpret visitation disputes based on the last Order on file, so be careful about new “agreements” that you make regarding visitation.
Custody and visitation modifications
A divorce decree that was based on past circumstances might not accurately reflect the circumstances you or your former partner are presently experiencing. If you want to find out if your custody, support or visitation agreement can be modified, we can help. In addition to considering the best interests of the child, the courts look for substantial changes in circumstances that may have occurred for either party. This can include a job loss or transfer, an illness or injury, or a change in legal status. Sometimes, court hearings or formal mediations are required to obtain the best results.
Let us help you work toward solutions that work for you. In all our cases, we take a problem-solving approach that enables us to examine a situation from every angle, giving you the comprehensive representation you need. To schedule an appointment, call us at 260-425-9777 or contact us online.
Our clients find that their cases are often settled through mediation or collaboration strategies. Let us help you settle your uncontested or contested divorce issues outside of court. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule an appointment, call 260-425-9777 or contact us online.