Divorce and Your Graduate Student

Does your daughter dream about going to medical school? Does your son envision becoming a lawyer? You may know that divorced parents can be responsible for college costs—but what about the costs of graduate school?

 The Indiana Supreme Court recently ruled that divorced parents cannot be forced to contribute to their child’s graduate-school expenses. In Allen v. Allen, divorced parents agreed that the father would be responsible for their daughter’s educational expenses. When that daughter decided to go to dental school, the father asked the Court to order the mother to contribute to the daughter’s dental-school expenses.  The Supreme Court rejected that request:

[I]ndiana is one of the few states that have a statute providing for educational expenses once a child has reached the age of majority. Most states have no law requiring divorced parents provide college expenses, and of the states that do, the majority limit payment of the expenses to a certain age.

 

“We also note that married parents have no legal obligation to pay for their children’s educational expenses beyond high school, let alone graduate school expenses,” [Justice] David wrote.

 

He ended by noting that divorced parents can still agree to pay a portion or all of their child’s graduate expenses, and that agreement can be enforceable by the court.

Even though a court cannot force parents to pay for graduate school, other issues regarding elementary, secondary, and college expenses often arise in the divorce process. The attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C. have experience dealing with these issues and are available to discuss them with you. To make an appointment with one of our attorneys, call (317) 580-9295.

 

Divorcing the Family Dog

Welpe im Scheidungskrieg

Many of the employees at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C. have pets at home—pets that they love and view as members of the family.  Clients going through a divorce often have questions about who gets to keep a beloved family pet.  Sometimes “pet parents” can come to an amicable resolution. But if you’re going through a divorce and you can’t agree, can a court order you to share “custody” of your four-legged friend? A contributor to the Indiana Lawyer recently recalled such a case:

When two women were divorcing in 2013, a New York judge agreed to hold a rare hearing on their fight over a dog. “Although Joey the miniature dachshund is not a human being and cannot be treated as such, he is decidedly more than a piece of property,” Judge Matthew Cooper wrote. The ruling was one of the first times a court had ever explained reasons for considering pets as more than property, making it influential even though Judge Cooper is a lower-court judge. The couple eventually settled their dispute out of court.

While courts may be hesitant to weigh in on animal issues, parties can frequently negotiate arrangements for their family pets. The attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C. have experience dealing with this issue, and we are available to discuss what might be best for you and your furry friends. To make an appointment with one of our attorneys, call (317) 580-9295.

Visit these Informative Resources to learn more about Family Law & Divorce

Filing for divorce can be a stressful and emotional process, so it is important to have all of the support you need during this difficult time. Hiring an experienced law firm to guide you through the divorce process can help reduce stress and benefit the outcome of the divorce. In getting yourself prepared for the divorce process in Indiana here are a few resources:

Divorce Decree

Divorce Laws: http://divorce.laws.com/divorce-in-indiana

Indiana Family Laws: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/indiana-law/indiana-family-laws.html

IACP – International Academy of Collaborative Professionals: https://www.collaborativepractice.com/

Split Film: http://www.splitfilm.org/

You can find more resources within our website by clicking here.

Our law firm has over 100 years’ experience in divorce and other family law matters. This concentration enables our clients to move forward in their lives in an efficient and positive manner. Our goal is to help you face and overcome the adversities of your divorce while protecting your rights, your financial interests, your family, and your future. Call our law firm today at 317-580-9295 to schedule a consultation.

Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C. | What Happens to Your Retirement During a Dissolution of Marriage Proceeding?

Divorces are complicated. Between dividing things like home furnishings and cars and deciding on parenting time and child support, one more thing to consider is what to do with what each party has saved for their retirement, assuming it was not accounted for in a prenuptial agreement.

Retirement accounts like 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, or Employee Stock Ownership Plans are in the name of one individual but what was contributed during the marriage can be divided between both of you. Essentially, a qualified valuator looks at what was added while you were married. That value is then considered part of the marital estate.

If you are a party who is to receive these funds during a divorce, an attorney must prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and submit it to the financial institution managing the retirement account. Your portion is then transferred to a retirement account in your own name. This keeps you from facing tax consequences associated with early withdrawal.

If you have questions about your retirement account or your spouse’s, the attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C. can advise you. To make an appointment with one of our lawyers, call (317) 580-9295.

Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C. | What about Life Insurance after Divorce?

Signing  divorce papers

Signing divorce papers

Following a dissolution or legal separation, one or both of the parties may be required to carry a life insurance policy (http://www.ameriprise.com/budgeting-investing/financial-planning-articles/saving-and-budgeting/insurance-concerns-after-divorce.asp). A newly-single parent may need to take out a policy to provide for their children in the event of death. The insurance money can take the place of what the deceased parent would have paid in child support and/or shared expenses.

There are two options when considering life insurance: whole life and term coverage. It’s possible term coverage may be more appropriate because it can be structured to provide for the children until they are emancipated. As with any financial planning, you should seek out the advice of a professional to learn what is right for you and your children.

The lawyers at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C. can assist you with what financial planning may be required in your case and help you find the right professional to handle your affairs. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys, please call (317) 580-9295.