• Can I keep my house when I get divorced?

    One of the most common questions we get asked when people divorce is whether they can keep their house when they get divorced. The good news is that the answer to this question can be yes. The bad news is that it is not always possible.

    The two biggest reasons someone cannot keep their house in a divorce are (1) they cannot afford the house after the divorce or (2) the only way the spouse not keeping the house can receive his/her portion of the equity is for the house to be sold.

    Can you afford to keep the house after the divorce?

    There are really two issues at play here. Can you afford the monthly payment on the house? And can you refinance the mortgage on the house into your own name? If the house is already in your name solely this won’t be a problem, but if you jointly purchased the house and both spouses are on the mortgage paperwork, then a refinance will typically be required. The good news about a refinance is that, if you have enough equity in your house, you can use the refinance to pay the other spouse his or her equity (we’ll talk about this more below). Of course, if the house is already in your name solely, you will not need to refinance it (although that doesn’t mean you are off the hook on the equity).

    How does your spouse receive his/her portion of the equity?

    Indiana is a marital pot state when it comes to division of assets and liabilities in a divorce. What that means on a practical level is that absent a prenuptial agreement, the Court has to consider ALL of the assets and liabilities of both parties at the time of the divorce regardless of how they are titled. The Court then has to divide those assets, starting with a presumption that the assets are divided equally. What does that mean for your house? Well it depends on what other assets you have. If your house is your only asset with value and you have no debts (including retirement assets like 401ks or pensions), then it is possible your spouse will be entitled to receive a portion of the equity in the house.

    How you pay the portion to your spouse depends on either the agreement you reach or the Court’s order if you can’t reach an agreement. Many people agree that the spouse will receive his or her portion upon a refinance of the mortgage. In a typical refinance, the party refinancing can take out a mortgage up to a certain percentage of the value of the house. If the amount that can be refinanced is greater than the mortgage balance, then the mortgage company will give you cash at closing which you can use to pay the other spouse. If the amount of cash received in the refinance is not enough and/or the parties agree otherwise, the other option for paying the equity is a simple payment plan. Pursuant to Indiana Code 31-17-5-4, the Court is authorized to order the house sold (or any property sold) and/or to order installment payments made.

    To be clear, there is no quick and easy answer to whether you can keep your house in a divorce. There are a number of factors in play but these are a few of them. If you’d like to discuss your particular facts and see what our attorneys have to say, please call us at 317-632-4711 to set up a free thirty minute phone consultation with an experienced Indiana divorce lawyer.

  • Easter Holiday 2019

    As most parents of divorce are aware, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines provide a schedule for holiday parenting time that covers many major U.S. holidays. What same people may not realize is that among the holidays included in the guidelines is Easter. Easter falls on April 21st this year, and this year (and all odd years) the holiday parenting time is exercised by the non-custodial parent. That means that if you are the non-custodial parent and your court order provides for you to have “holidays pursuant to the guidelines” (or has other similar language), you are entitled to exercise parenting time from Friday, April 19th, at 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 21st.

    If your court order was entered after March of 2013, then the holiday parenting time does not impact the rotation of regular weekend parenting time. In other words, if the Easter holiday weekend would not normally be your weekend with the children but the weekend before and after are your normal weekends, then you will have three weekends in a row of parenting time.  If the Easter holiday weekend also aligns with your normal weekend rotation, the holiday parenting time will really only likely impact drop-off time (as typical weekend parenting time ends at 6 p.m. on Sundays).

    If your court order was entered before March of 2013, the holiday parenting time does impact the rotation of regular parenting time IF the exercising of the holiday results in a parent having three weekends in a row. For example, if the non-custodial parent’s regular weekend is April 12-14 and then he/she has parenting time for Easter on April 19-21, the custodial parent would then get the weekend of April 26-28 and the weekend of May 3-5 would be the non-custodial’s and the parties would keep rotating as such until holiday or extended summer parenting time begins.

    Other upcoming holiday parenting to be aware of (and which we will post more about when we get closer), especially while scheduling summer parenting time:

    • Memorial Day, May 24 at 6 p.m. until May 27 at 7 p.m. (custodial parents in 2019)
    • July 4th, July 3 at 6 p.m. – July 5 at 10 a.m. (non-custodial parent in 2019)
    • Labor Day, August 31 at 6 p.m. until September 2nd at 7 p.m. (custodial parent in 2019)

    If you have any questions about holiday parenting time or need to understand what your rights are under the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, the experienced family law attorneys at Cairns Law are available for a free thirty-minute phone consultation. Call 317-632-4711 to schedule your consultation; we are typically able to have the consult at the same time you call or within 1 business day if someone is not available.

  • Mayim Bialik provides tips to parents post-divorce

    Mayim Bialik: You may know her from the amazing television show Big Bang Theory, but what you might not know about her is that she’s been divorced for three years. When she divorced her children were 4 and 7 and they are now 7 and 10. She decided to take to YouTube and discuss what the divorce means for her and how her and her ex-husband handle their relationship with each other and their children post-divorce.

    Some tips she shares in her video of things her and her ex do for their children:

    1. Do things together, including celebrating holidays together and attending synagogue together.

    2. Continue to be part of each other’s extended families, including sending pictures to extended family.

    3. Try to model good behavior; they don’t trash each other to the children.

  • What Not to Do: Burn Your House Down During Your Divorce

    divorce house fire

    In today’s example of what not to do in your divorce: burn your house down. That’s right, a Boston man in the midst of his divorce tried to burn his $900,000 house to the ground.

    Timothy Brosnan, 57, was arrested Saturday evening shortly after police say he set his Linden Avenue home on fire. He was arraigned on an arson charge this afternoon in Lynn District Court. He will return to court Wednesday for a dangerousness hearing.

    Prosecutors say Brosnan burned the house he built one day before he was scheduled to hand it over to his soon-to-be ex-wife as part of a divorce settlement.

    It’s not hard to imagine why this is a bad idea generally (criminal charges, being the obvious downside) but in terms of the divorce destroying assets has negative ramifications. In Indiana, the Court find that a party dissipated an asset when they destroyed it. One possible effect of this would be the husband, in this case, would be “charged” with the full value of the house and not get it.

    Read more here .

  • Cairns Law Relocates to Broad Ripple

    Effective July 1, 2016, Cairns & Rabiola has relocated to Broad Ripple. Our new address is 6161 N. College Avenue. Our move gives us more space which is much needed. Specifically, it provides for both Tara and Jaimie to hold mediations in our office. As Jaimie recently completed mediation training and Tara took the training during law school, this move was the perfect opportunity to get more space to be able to complete divorce mediations and other family law mediations.

  • Family Law Attorneys Named to Super Lawyer

    Cairns & Rabiola, LLP, is proud to announce that Indianapolis family law attorney Tara Rabiola has been named as a 2016 Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine. Attorney Jaimie L. Cairns has been selected for the second year in a row as a Rising Star. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

    Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

    The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

    Cairns & Rabiola, LLP, is a boutique family law and divorce firm located in downtown Indianapolis.

  • Holiday Parenting Time: President’s Day 2016

    President’s Day is next Monday, February 15th, and while most working adults do not get to enjoy the holiday (with the exclusion of state and federal government employees), all local schools do celebrate the holiday. And because of that, the holiday is included in the 2013 updated version of Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines ‘ list of holidays that are to be rotated between the custodial and non custodial parent.

    Under the 2013 guidelines , this year the noncustodial parent is given from from Friday at 6:00 P.M. until Monday at 7:00 P.M. It’s important to keep in mind that under the new guidelines: ” If a parent misses a regular weekend because it is the other parent’s holiday, it will be lost. If a parent receives two consecutive weekends because of a holiday, that parent shall have the third weekend also. Regular alternating weekends shall continue throughout the year.”

    However if the 2009 guidelines or any prior version of the guidelines applies in your case, the holiday IS NOT included under the guidelines. In other words, if the older version of the guidelines apply to your case, the normal weekend rotation schedule applies to the weekend, despite the Monday off of school.

    The following list is a non-exhaustive list of local schools that have President’s Day off this year:

    • IPS
    • Warren Township
    • Perry (Snow Make Up Day)
    • Lawrence
    • Franklin
    • Decatur
    • Wayne
    • Pike
    • Washington
    • Carmel Clay
    • HSE
    • Zionsville
    • Brownsburg
    • Avon
    • Plainfield
    • Danville
    • Greenwood
    • Speedway
    • Greenfield

    Many of the above schools use President’s Day as a snow make up date so if your school has had a snow day this year it’s important to double check whether students will be making the day up on President’s Day.

    It is also worth nothing that most courts are closed in observation of the holiday, including the Marion County Courts, Boone County Courts, Hancock County Courts, Hamilton County Court, Johnson County Courts, and Hendricks County Courts.

  • Cairns Law Represents Client in Successful Adoption Appeal

    The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a decision today in In Re the Adoption of S.Z. In Indiana, both biological parents must consent to an adoption or the potential adoptive parents must show that the consent is not required. To prove the consent is not required, the adoptive parent can show one of three things: (1) that the child was abandoned for 6 months, (2) that the biological parent failed to communicate significantly with the child when able to do so or (3) that the biological parent failed to provide for the care and support of the child when able to do so.

    In this case, the trial court found that the biological mother’s consent was required because she had not abandoned the child, had not failed to communicate with the child, and, while the mother had not provided any support for the child, the adoptive parent had not proven she was able to support the child.

    Cairns & Rabiola had the pleasure of representing the potential adoptive parent in his appeal. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court had made a number of erroneous findings and most importantly that the Court’s ultimate conclusion that biological mother’s consent was requried was erroneous and should be reversed and remanded. The trial court will now address the issue of whether the adoption is in the child’s best interest.

  • Cairns Named a 2015 Rising Star by Super Lawyers

    Cairns & Rabiola, LLP, is proud to announce that Indianapolis family law attorney Jaimie L. Cairns has been selected to the 2015 Indiana Rising Stars list . Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

    Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

    The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

    Cairns & Rabiola, LLP, is a boutique family law and divorce firm located in downtown Indianapolis.

  • Divorce 101: Settlement Negotiations and Mediation

    What are settlement negotiations?

    In the context of divorce, settlement negotiations are attempts between parties to settle their case. If the parties have attorneys, the settlement negotiations are typically done between the attorneys (or the attorney and a non-represented spouse if one of the spouses does not hire an attorney). If settlement negotiations are successful, a settlement agreement is entered and sent to the Court for approval. Successful settlement negotiations allow parties to forego going to court.

    What is mediation?

    Mediation is a form of settlement negotiations with the added assistance of a trained mediator. For mediation, the parties typically meet at one office where the mediator goes back and forth between the parties to attempt to hash out a settlement agreement. Again, if successful, the mediation will result in a signed settlement agreement that is sent to the Court for approval and will allow the parties to avoid attending Court.

    What does mediation cost?

    Most mediators require each party to commit to paying one-half the cost of the mediator’s fees.The mediator bills on an hourly basis and, much like attorneys, hourly rates vary from mediator to mediator. During mediation, the parties can agree on an alternative arrangement for paying for the mediator. If you have an attorney, you will also have the added cost of paying your attorney’s hourly rate during the mediation.

    Does mediation work?

    In the experience of the attorneys at Cairns & Rabiola , mediation is often very successful. It allows parties to have a hand in crafting their own arrangement instead of leaving their divorce issues up to a judge.

    Are settlement negotiations and mediation confidential?

    Settlement negotiations are not confidential if done outside the confines of mediation. However, there is an Indiana trial rule that prohibits settlement negotiations from being admitted before the court.

    Mediation, on the other hand, is a confidential process. If mediation is unsuccessful, the opposing party cannot use the mediation against you. This means that you have freedom at mediation to make an offer without worrying that that offer may be held against you later.

    Cairns & Rabiola Divorce 101 Series: The purpose of the Divorce 101 series is to go through the possible steps of a divorce in Indiana. This series is based on the assumption that you will hire an attorney to assist you with your legal work. If there is a topic you’d like to see covered in our series, please email us at info@crfamilylegal.com .
    Cairns & Rabiola has a variety of options for clients seeking a divorce from flat fee divorces for uncontested matters all the way to representing clients in highly contested child custody and asset division cases. If you would like to speak with an attorney, call us today at 317-632-4711 or complete our contact form and we’ll call you within one business day.