• 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.

  • 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.

  • Divorce 101: Discovery

    What is discovery?

    Discovery is legal phrase for the process of discovering facts in a case. There are a variety of discovery methods, including interrogatories, requests for production, third party requests for production, and depositions.

    What are interrogatories?

    Interrogatories are a series of questions that must be answered by the party they are served upon under oath. This means anything stated in the interrogatory can be used against you when you testify, so accuracy is of utmost importance.

    What are requests for production?

    Requests for production are lists of documents that you must produce. Typical requests may seek production of your bank statements, credit card statements, and paystubs. If a document is in your possession, custody or control (meaning you have access to the document), you must produce it. In other words, if you do not physically have your bank statements in your possession, but you can print them off of your bank’s website or you can go to the bank and get a copy, you are required to produce those statements.

    What is a deposition?

    A deposition is where one party questions the other party on the record. A court reporter is hired who records and transcribes the testimony, resulting in a transcript. This testimony is given under oath and can be used against you during a hearing, so again honesty is of utmost importance.

    Why should I serve discovery on my spouse?

    Discovery is not always necessary. However, if you are not fully aware of all of the assets and debts that both you and your spouse own, then discovery may be necessary. Additionally, discovery may be necessary to retrieve income information from your spouse. Many cases do not require formal discovery because the parties are able to disclose adequate information through their attorneys in an informal setting (for example, your attorney may ask the opposing attorney to provide your spouse’s bank statements and recent paystubs; if your spouse cooperates, formal discovery may not be necessary).

    Do I have to respond to discovery?

    Yes! Under the Indiana trial rules, discovery must be responded to by a party it is served on within 30 days. Now, it is possible to ask for an extension, either formally through the court or informally by asking the opposing party or attorney. If you do not respond to discovery, you can face sanctions from the court, including being ordered to pay the legal fees of the opposing party.

    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.

  • Divorce 101: Assets and Liabilities

    What assets and liabilities are divided in a divorce?

    Assuming no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, all assets and liabilities are considered part of the “marital estate” for purposes of division in the marital estate. This means it does not matter how the asset or liability is titled – it still gets included in the overall estate. For example, if you own the marital residence in just your name and your spouse has a credit card in just his/her name, both the marital residence and the credit card are counted as parts of the marital estate?

    What date is used to value the assets and liabilities in the marital estate?

    Any date can be used between the date of filing of the petition for divorce and the final hearing on the divorce. In most divorce cases, the date of filing is the date that is used. It is important that all assets and liabilities use the same or close to the same date.

    How are assets and liabilities valued?

    For many assets and liabilities such as bank account, retirement account, credit cards, etc., the value is simply the account balance on the date your are using (see above). For assets that do not have an easy to determine balance, the fair market value is used. The fair market value is the value you could sell the item for on the market. For vehicles, the Kelly Blue Book value is often used. For real estate, an appraisal is ideal but market analysis and tax assessed value can also be used (typically, these are used in negotiations; if the case goes to court an appraisal is likely necessary if the parties do not agree on the value). For personal property such as furniture, the value is basically the value you could sell the item for at a garage sale. Occasionally parties will need/want to have personal property appraised as well.

    How is the estate divided?

    The Indiana Code provides that the Court “equitably” divide the marital estate. It is important to realize that the statute does not say the estate is divided equally. The court can then consider certain factors to determine whether an inequitable division is more appropriate. Some of these factors are the earning ability of each party, assets/liabilities contributed by each party at the beginning of the marriage, assets accumulated due to inheritance/gift. The reality is that a court has broad discretion in dividing a marital estate. Divisions have been upheld as disparate as 91% to Wife, 9% to Husband.

    With that said, most divorces settle and that means the parties determine what is fair in terms of dividing the estate. Most divorce settlements settle between 40/60 and 50/50.

    This division is representative of how the overall estate is divided. That means that each individual asset or liability is not divided by the percentage, but instead the estate is divided overall by these percentage. Our next question will show an example of this.

    Can you give me an example of the division of a marital estate?

    Once all assets and liabilities are determined, the total value of the net marital estate can be determined. Below is a made up marital estate, where the parties own a home with a mortgage, have some bank and retirement assets as well as some liabilities:

    In that case, the total net marital estate is $90,000. In order to divide this estate, 50/50, each of the parties would need to end up with $45,000. This 50/50 division could look like this:

    Note that while some of the assets are divided, some are assigned to one party entirely.

    A 60/40 division of this same estate could look like this:

    Do you have any questions that pertain to the division of assets and liabilities in a divorce? Feel free to leave a comment or complete our contact form and we’ll be happy to reach out to you.

    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.

  • Divorce 101: Child Support FAQ

    If your divorce involves unemancipated children, child support will likely be an issue that needs to be addressed. This blog entry will focus on common questions regarding child support.

    How is child support calculated in Indiana?

    Child support on Indiana is calculated with the use of a worksheet. The figures needed to calculate child support are as follows:

    · the number of children

    · each parent’s gross income

    · any child support either parent pays for prior born children

    · the amount of maintenance paid for prior marriages

    · the number of subsequent children either parent has

    · the amount each parent pays for work-related child care expenses

    · the amount each parent pays for health insurance premiums for the children

    · the number of overnights the non-custodial parent exercises with the children

    Once those numbers are put into the calculator , the calculator produces a worksheet that states what the weekly child support obligation is.

    What is a child support worksheet

    Below is an example of a child support worksheet. The circle in red is the amount of child support this hypothetical person would pay based on the other numbers contained on the worksheet.

    What is gross income?

    The calculation of gross income can be complicated for some people, particularly business owners or people that are paid on commission. The basic definition of gross income in the child support guidelines is as follows: actual weekly gross income of the parent if employed to full capacity, potential income if unemployed or underemployed, and imputed income based upon “in‑kind” benefits. Weekly gross income of each parent includes income from any source, except as excluded below, and includes, but is not limited to, income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, overtime, partnership distributions, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, workmen’s compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, gifts, inheritance, prizes, and alimony or maintenance received from other marriages. Social Security disability benefits paid for the benefit of the child must be included in the disabled parent’s gross income. The disabled parent is entitled to a credit for the amount of Social Security disability benefits paid for the benefit of the child. Specifically excluded are benefits from means‑tested public assistance programs, including, but not limited to, Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income, and Food Stamps. Also excluded are survivor benefits received by or for other children residing in either parent’s home.

    If your gross income is complicated, it is best to discuss your income with any attorney to determine the appropriate weekly gross income to put on the child support worksheet.

    How do I calculate the children’s portion of health insurance premiums?

    The credit either parent may receive on the worksheet for health insurance premiums is only for the portion of the premiums that is paid for the children. This amount can be calculated by reviewing the matrix the health insurance provide provides you each year when you are choosing your health insurance. Generally the matrix will look like this:

    Bi-weekly cost*

    Employee

    $100

    Employee+1

    $150

    Employee+family

    $180

    *The matrix will indicate whether the cost is monthly, bi-monthly, bi-weekly, etc. Generally the cost is by pay period. Remember that the impute for the worksheet is the weekly cost of the insurance for the children.

    In this example, the employee’s cost for the child is $50 every two weeks for one child. This is calculated by subtracting the amount the employee pays for him/herself with the child less the amount the employee pays for him/herself. Therefore, if this employee had one child they would get a $25 per week credit on the worksheet for health insurance premiums. If they have two children they would get a credit for $40 per week ($180 – $100 divided by 2).

    Now if the above employee is covering their subsequent spouse (meaning the spouse not involved in the child support calculation), the credit for the children regardless of the number of children would be $15 because the cost for the children is only $30 per pay period.

    Is there a calculator online that I can use?

    Yes, the state provides a calculator here .

    Do we have to use the amount that the child support worksheet calculates?

    The child support guidelines state that, “In any proceeding for the award of child support, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of the award which would result from the application of the Indiana Child Support Guidelines is the correct amount of child support to be awarded.” With that said, if the parties can state an adequate reason for a deviation then the court may approve an agreement that deviates from the calculation on the worksheet.

    Does a child support worksheet have to be submitted with my divorce decree?

    If your divorce involves children, most Indiana courts require that a child support worksheet be submitted with your divorce decree, even if the child support calculation results in neither party paying child support.

    If you have any other questions about child support, feel free to leave a comment, complete our contact form , or call us at (317)632-4711.

    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 attroney, call us today at 317-632-4711 or complete our contact form and we’ll call you within one business day.

  • Uncontested Divorce FAQ

    Indiana divorce attorneys, Indiana family law attorneys, Indiana uncontested divorce The Indiana family law attorneys at Cairns & Rabiola are happy to assist clients in both contested and uncontested divorces. These frequently asked questions are aimed to help you determine if your divorce is uncontested and how we can help you if you decide to hire an attorney.

    How do you know if your divorce is uncontested? In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree to the majority of the terms of the divorce. These terms include the division of property (including any residences, vehicles, retirement accounts, bank accounts, etc.), child custody provisions, and child support generally (our attorneys are happy to do a child support calculation). Typically, divorces with children are not uncontested, but every once in a while parties agree on all terms regarding the children and are able to proceed with an uncontested divorce.

    Why does it matter if my divorce is uncontested? Our family law attorneys are happy to assist clients throughout the state of Indiana with uncontested divorces for a flat fee . The benefit of a flat fee in a divorce is that assuming the divorce is truly uncontested you know the cost of the divorce from the onset. The flat fee varies depending on a number of factors (whether you have children, whether an income withholding order needs to be completed, whether retirement accounts are being divided that require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and whether you need a quitclaim deed prepared). In addition to the flat fee paid to the attorney, the client also pays the filing fee required by the county the divorce is filed in.

    What does the flat fee include? The flat fee for all uncontested divorces includes the drafting of the petition for divorce, summons, appearance, agreement of settlement, waiver of final hearing and decree of dissolution. We also handle filing of the documents. For an additional flat fee, we will also prepare income withholding orders (for payment of child support), Qualified Domestic Relations Order (for tax-free transfer of qualified retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s), and quitclaim deeds.

    How do you charge for uncontested divorces? Our flat fees start at $300-$400 and increase depending on whether we also prepare the income withholding orders, child support worksheets, Qualified Domestic Relations Order(s), and quitclaim deeds.

    What is the time period for an uncontested divorce? In Indiana, there is a 60 day waiting period between the filing of the divorce and the court being able to approve a final settlement agreement. Assuming both spouses execute the necessary documents within the 60 days, most uncontested divorces are ready to be filed for approval by the court on the 60th day (although we cannot control how soon the court will actually approve the settlement agreement).

    Does my spouse need an attorney in an uncontested divorce? While the family law attorneys of Cairns & Rabiola only represent one spouse in a divorce for ethical reasons, it is not a requirement that the other spouse retain an attorney. Our divorce attorneys will not give legal advice to the non-represented spouse. Of course, the non-represented spouse is more than welcome to seek legal counsel of his/her own.

    Do I have to come to your office for an uncontested divorce? No, most clients that hire us to do their uncontested divorce never step foot in our office. We can do most of the work over email. This also allows us to do uncontested divorces in any county in Indiana.

    If you would like to speak to a divorce attorney about your uncontested Indiana divorce, please call us at 317-632-4711 or complete our contact form and we’ll email you! We offer a free 30 minute phone consultation for all potential clients.