Indianapolis Family Law Attorneys for Indianapolis Families
Family law is one of the most emotionally charged areas of law. These cases deal with divorce, custody battles, child support, and spousal maintenance. As such, it’s crucial that you work with a family lawyer who can help with staying objective, measured, and professional during emotionally wrought situations.
At Zentz & Roberts, P.C., our Indianapolis family law attorneys understand the complexities of these kinds of cases and are here to help. If you need family law representation, call us at 317-678-9463 today.
What is Family Law?
Family law is an area of legal practice focusing on family and relationship matters. This can include marriage, divorce, paternity, adoption, child custody, guardianship, DCS litigation, etc. A family law attorney can represent your best interests in family court during the legal proceedings and help with negotiations regarding these matters outside of court through informal settlement negotiations and mediation.
What Do Family Law Attorneys Do?
Family law attorneys are specifically trained and licensed to help resolve family matter disputes. This can include a range of situations such as divorce, paternity, adoption, child custody, legal guardianship, child support, DCS litigation, and more.
A family lawyer can represent you and protect your rights at trial (if necessary).
Specifically, a family law attorney can:
- Facilitate negotiations and represent you during mediation.
- Facilitate communications between parties and/or the other attorney.
- Ensure each person’s rights are respected.
- Help facilitate a compromise on difficult issues.
- Help the parties reach an agreeable settlement.
- Take matters to court when the parties are not able to fully agree on the issues.
Family Law Matters — Our Indiana Family Law Attorneys Can Help
As top-rated Indianapolis family law attorneys, we understand that family is the most important part of your life. If you choose us as your family lawyer, we will take the time to understand the issues in your case and explain to you the applicable law(s), the various options available to you, and the possible outcomes.
Our team specializes in a range of matters regarding family law, including the following:
Indiana divorce laws specifically refer to a divorce as a “dissolution of marriage,” which is considered a no-fault matter. This means that the person filing for divorce is not required to prove that anyone did anything wrong for the dissolution of the marriage.
However, though divorce is considered no-fault, this doesn’t mean that these situations are easy. Even if no one is to blame, there can be disagreements between both parties that require the presence of an attorney to facilitate the process. These disagreements can include the division of marital assets, child custody, parenting time, child support, and post-secondary education support.
If you are going through a divorce in Indiana and require a family law attorney, our team can help. We can guide you through the process, handle negotiations with the other party, and represent you in court if necessary to ensure a fair and reasonable outcome.
How alimony works in Indiana is different than in other states. Here, we refer to it as spousal support or maintenance, and while very similar to alimony, Indiana does have stricter laws concerning this type of financial support.
Specifically, spousal support is a type of financial assistance provided to a spouse who contributed to the marriage but did not receive payment, like an income. An example would be a stay-at-home parent who heavily supported the family but did not have a job outside the home that provided them with an income.
Spousal support can also be provided for a spouse who is mentally or physically incapacitated and unable to support themself. It can also be provided for a spouse who could not work because they spent most of their time at home caring for a disabled child.
If you are going through a divorce or soon to be going through a divorce or legal separation and need help with matters regarding spousal support, our Indianapolis family law attorneys can assist you.
Matters involving the custody of a child can get particularly heated and emotional. Understandably, you want what is best for your child, but it is not uncommon for the genuine best interest of the child to be overlooked in these situations.
A family law attorney can protect your rights as a parent while also helping you negotiate an agreement that is in your child’s best interest. Your lawyer can also represent you if the case goes to court or help you modify existing custody or support agreements.
At Zentz & Roberts, we understand how stressful and emotionally wrought a child custody case can be. Our compassionate team will work with you and the other party involved to help you reach an agreeable arrangement before it turns into a custody battle. However, if the case goes to trial, we can also protect your rights and fight for the best interests of you and your child.
Probate & Wills
In Indiana, if someone passes without a will, then their assets must be distributed following intestate law. When this happens, the assets are assigned a “fair market value” and then distributed to the beneficiaries in the family without any consideration for sentimental value or who would prefer to have what.
For example, one child could end up receiving an important family heirloom while another would receive something that is of similar cash value but carries no sentimental value. This can lead to certain family members feeling as though the distribution of assets is unfair.
Additionally, without a will, the estate representative is not bound to distribute assets in accordance with verbal requests made by the deceased before they passed. This can also lead to assets being distributed in a way that causes hurt feelings and general upset within the family.
If you have a loved one who has passed, whether they have a will or not, we can help you navigate the probate process and ensure the assets of the estate are distributed properly. We can also identify whether there is a need to probate the estate or if the value of the estate allows you to distribute the assets through a small estate affidavit.
Additionally, Zentz & Roberts can work with you to prepare your Last Will and Testament to make sure your estate is distributed in the manner you want. We will also prepare a Durable Power of Attorney and Advanced Directive for Health Care Decisions to make sure your wishes are followed, and your interests are looked after.
The primary goal of adoption should always be to match children with the right family. It’s important that children are provided with the best possible situation to ensure they are able to thrive in a nurturing and loving environment.
Of course, while the child’s best interests should be the focus of an adoption, many other factors can come into play, such as the rights or wishes of the birth mother, the biological father, or both parents. Indiana adoption laws can be complicated as it relates to whether the consent of a parent is required. We offer a free consultation and will discuss your particular situation with you and provide you the different options available to you.
At Zentz & Roberts, we are experienced in handling various kinds of adoption cases, including private, public, stepparent, and foster parent adoption. We can help make the process easier to navigate and ensure the best possible outcome for all parties involved. Whether you are looking to adopt, or attempting to keep your parental rights from being terminated through adoption, we can help.
Establishing paternity in Indiana is about giving a child a legal father. It also gives the father legal rights and obligations regarding the care of the child.
To specifically establish paternity, the following must be true:
- The man and his wife are married when the child is born, or the child is born no later than 300 days after the marriage ends.
For all other cases, paternity must be established through a court order or a paternity affidavit. A paternity affidavit is a legal document that allows a man and a woman to declare that the man is the child’s biological father (under penalty of perjury). If seeking paternity through a court order, either parent may file an action with the appropriate Indiana court.
It is important to understand how the law works in these matters because paternity must be established before you can deal with child support or custody disputes. Our Indianapolis family law attorneys can help you through paternity disputes and protect your rights as either the mother or the father.
By law, the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) must investigate every reported child abuse or neglect claim. This can lead to stressful and confusing investigations and legal processes, especially considering the Indiana DCS is often poorly trained and understaffed. For this reason, it is not uncommon for a parent to be falsely accused of abuse and neglect and for the situation to be handled poorly.
In these cases, the accused parent must consult an Indiana DCS lawyer as soon as possible. At Zentz & Roberts, we offer assistance to parents who find themselves in these difficult situations, facing accusations of child abuse or neglect. Our Indiana DCS and family law attorneys will fight hard to protect your rights while also keeping the best interests of your child in mind.
Matters of guardianship address the rights and responsibilities involving minors with adults other than the legal and biological parents. A legal guardian has the primary right to raise and care for a child. However, this is different from adoption in that guardianship does not terminate the rights of the child’s birth parents.
It is not uncommon for birth parents to choose short-term guardians to temporarily care for their child during a designated period of time if certain events occur. Parents may also experience guardianship when the court or a state welfare agency intervenes.
Other family members may seek guardianship if the birth parents are unable to perform their parental duties. This can also occur when the parent is accused of drug or alcohol abuse or even physical abuse.
If you need assistance with a case involving legal guardianship, our team of experienced Indiana family law attorneys can help.
Mediation is considered a form of alternative dispute resolution. In these situations, a neutral third-party facilitates negotiations to help the parties resolve their disputes without going to trial. So, unlike arbitration, the neutral third party does not make any decision — they simply help mediate a mutually agreeable outcome.
This is done by having the neutral third party supervise the exchange of information and settlement negotiations. They can help the parties find common ground and may offer suggestions or solutions. Their role is to interpret concerns, help frame issues, define the problems, and relay information between the parties.
At Zentz & Roberts, our team offers domestic relation mediation services to help you resolve your issues in a supportive environment.
How Can an Indianapolis Family Law Attorney Help Me?
There are many benefits to hiring an Indianapolis family law attorney when you need help with family-related issues. First, an experienced local family lawyer will have extensive knowledge of Indiana’s laws governing family matters and divorce. They can also offer unbiased legal advice and negotiate on your behalf if you are struggling to communicate effectively with the other party.
Other benefits to seeking legal counsel for family matters include:
- Ensuring the best interests of the children involved
- Helping you avoid negative financial effects
- Saving you from wrecking the case due to emotional upsets
- Working with you to resolve the dispute as quickly and effectively as possible
- Offering a neutral third-party perspective to help reframe issues
Contact an Indianapolis family law attorney to help with your case now. Or call us at 317-678-9463 to schedule a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you with your family law matter.