Mother’s Rights Lawyer in Indianapolis

Many mothers remain in unhappy marriages for years because they want what’s best for their children. From concern over how they will be able to manage financially as a single mother to the emotional impact that divorce will have on their children, the thought of finally stepping away can feel overwhelming. That is why it is important to have strong, supportive representation from an attorney who understands your needs as a woman and mother.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, our attorneys exclusively represent women. We are dedicated to empowering mothers with the knowledge of their constitutional rights so that they can make decisions from a place of clarity. Utilizing skills in both mediation and litigation, our goal is for women to feel confident about their future.

Contact our family law firm today at 380-212-3731 to arrange a free consultation.

Mother’s Rights and Child Custody in Indianapolis

One of the most significant family law concerns for mothers is their child’s custody. There are two types of child custody in Indianapolis: legal custody and physical custody. Physical custody refers to the child’s primary residence and the day-to-day care of the child, such as meals, bathing, and transportation. Parents may share physical custody equally, or one parent could have primary physical custody, and the other will have visitation rights.

Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions on behalf of a child, such as medical, cultural, educational, and religious decisions. Parents can share legal custody equally, or one parent could be awarded sole legal custody.

Child custody decisions are often made using mediation with the help an Indianapolis child custody lawyer. However, any child custody agreement must be approved by a Judge, who makes decisions based on the child’s best interest.

Understanding a Child’s Best Interests

When parents can’t agree on a child custody arrangement in Indiana, then the Judge must make a decision based on the child’s best interest. Mothers and fathers have equal parental rights under the law, and so rather than decisions being based on gender, some of the factors a judge may consider include:

  • The wishes of each parent.
  • The child’s wishes may also be considered (especially if 14 or older), but ultimately the decision will be made based on their best interest rather than their preference.
  • The age and sex of the child.
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health.
  • Evidence of abuse from either parent.
  • The child’s adjustment to community, home and school. The judge may try to keep these the same to minimize disruption in their life.
  • The child’s interaction with other family members or significant people.
  • The ability of each parent to meet the child’s emotional and physical needs.
  • Evidence that the child has been cared for by someone who doesn’t have legal rights to the child, known as ‘de facto custodian’.

Indiana Sole Custody Vs. Joint Custody

In Indianapolis, shared custody also referred to as joint custody, can take various forms. Parents could share both physical and legal custody, or one or the other. For example, a Judge could award joint legal custody, but one parent may retain sole physical custody.

Most child custody cases result in a joint custody arrangement, as it is considered to be in the best interests of the child for both parents to play a large role in their life. A joint custody arrangement means that both parents spend significant time with their child, but not always equal. One parent will likely be the custodial parent, meaning the child’s primary residence with them, and the other parent (known as the non-custodial parent) could care for their child one evening each week and every other weekend.

A joint custody arrangement involves formulating a parenting plan where both parents share custody to some degree. On the other hand, sole custody means one parent is awarded all or most parental rights.,

Custody and Visitation

Mothers and fathers in Indiana have child visitation rights, which means that each parent is entitled to regular parenting time with their child. If a parent does not have physical custody of their child, they are still entitled to reasonable parenting time.

The only exception to this is if one parent has had their parental rights taken away from them by a Judge due to concern that parenting time would endanger the child’s physical or emotional health.

Even in cases where a parent has certain issues, such as addiction or anger problems, the court may still try to facilitate visitation, such as supervised parenting time. The time a parent spends with a child could be supervised by a private agency, social service agency, juvenile court staff, or a trusted third party like a grandparent. The court may also order parenting time to happen at a secure, neutral location.

Family law matters that involve children must be made with their best interest at heart. That usually means sharing custody. However, if you have concerns over the impact your ex-spouse could have on your children, then you will need substantial evidence as to why. A mother’s rights attorney can help you keep your children safe and will help you fight for sole custody if that is what is right.

How to Find the Right Mother’s Rights Divorce Lawyer for You in Indiana

Many of the mothers we work with have never needed a divorce attorney before, which can make finding the right family law firm feel like an overwhelming task. We recommend that you find a law firm that has a narrow focus, such as family law, so that the majority of their professional time is spent navigating similar issues to those you are dealing with.

It is important that your mother’s rights lawyer makes you feel supported and takes the time to educate you about your rights and keep you informed about the progress of your case. Although an experienced family law attorney will have a full caseload, they should be able to manage their time effectively to make you a priority.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, your lawyer should be skilled in both mediation and litigation. Mediation is the process of negotiating important family law matters with you and your ex-spouse before they are approved by a Judge. Mediation has a lot of benefits, it saves money and time on lengthy court proceedings, allows you and your ex-spouse to come to personalized arrangements and encourages an amicable relationship, and protects children from hostilities.

However, sometimes mediation is not possible, and so it is essential that your attorney is also a skilled litigator. If your attorney isn’t willing or able to stand for you in court, but your partner’s attorney is, then it could leave you vulnerable.

Many family law firms offer free initial consultations so you can ask some questions and decide whether they are the right fit for your case. It is also a good opportunity for you to decide whether you like your potential attorney. Family law matters often involve a lot of highly personal and emotional issues, so it is important that you feel comfortable speaking with them without fear of judgment.

Woodford Sathappan McGee – Advocates For Women’s Rights

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we are dedicated to helping women in family law cases in Indiana and Ohio. We believe that this narrow focus allows us to offer comprehensive support to mothers.

Our legal team is comprised of experienced family law lawyers who have various skill sets, from high-asset divorces to complex custody disputes and more. When you contact us for a free consultation, we will assign the attorney best suited to your case. No matter how complex your case is, it is likely that we have worked with women like you before and understand the important aspects of your case and how best to handle them.

All of our attorneys are highly skilled in both mediation and litigation. We fight fiercely for the rights of women, and we believe that the first step in this is empowering women with knowledge about their legal rights. When you secure representation from us, you become our priority. We will keep you educated and informed and will be prompt to answer your questions. Our goal is for you to move forward with your life in confidence, which involves offering support and compassion, as well as strong legal guidance and representation.

Other Family Law Matters in Indiana

Although child custody is often one of the biggest concerns for mothers facing divorce, there are also many other important family law matters which need to be properly considered. When a Judge makes a ruling, the outcome becomes a legal obligation, so it is essential that you have high-quality representation.

Some other important family law matters facing mothers in Indiana include:

Child Support

Usually, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support to the other parent. Parental rights come with parental responsibilities, including the responsibility to contribute financially to the upbringing of their children. As the non-custodial parent will spend less time with their child, child support is a way of making the financial cost of upbringing a child more equal.

Indiana law does not specify what child support can be used to pay for. It can pay for any cost of upbringing a child, including shelter, food, toys, education, and more.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is regular payments that one spouse is required to pay the other after divorce. Most divorces do not result in a spousal support order, they are only awarded if one spouse requires financial assistance to maintain the same standard of living they became accustomed to while they were married.

It is common for mothers to sacrifice job opportunities to support their children and their home. If you believe that you deserve spousal support, then an attorney can assess your case and determine whether you should fight for financial support.

Property Division

When you are married to someone, your lives become interwoven, and so when the marriage ends, it becomes necessary to divide all of your assets and debts in line with state law.

In Indiana, you have a right to a fair and just division of your marital property. That doesn’t always mean a 50/50 split. For example, it might be fair for you to maintain the home where you bring up your children. Your Indianapolis mother’s rights lawyer from Woodford Sathappan McGee will take the time to ensure we understand what is important to you so that they can best support you in maintaining the assets that really matter. They will also ensure that any complex or hidden assets are considered, such as overseas real estate, pensions, self-owned businesses, or investments.

The first task of your attorney will be to separate your property into separate and marital:

  • Separate Property – Your separate property includes any assets you owned before you were married or anything you acquired via a gift, inheritance, or compensation where you were married. Your separate property will continue to belong to you after your marriage ends.
  • Marital Property – Marital property is all assets that were acquired by either party while they were married (excluding gifts, inheritance, and compensation). Marital property can include real estate, investments, vehicles, bank accounts, pensions, stocks and bonds, and debts. When you and your ex-spouse separate, you have a right to a ‘just and fair’ division of your marital property.

In Indiana, when marital property is divided, the court will consider each spouse’s contribution, who has primary custody of the couple’s children, the needs of each spouse, the length of the marriage, the value of each spouse’s separate property, and the ability of each spouse to earn money.

Domestic Abuse

Abuse and violence against women is a direct violation of their rights. Thanks to our dedication to women’s rights, we have created a space where women feel safe and able to share their experiences so that they can get the support they need to begin to move forward.

Taking those first steps is incredibly difficult, but when you contact us for a free consultation, we can advise you about how to get to a place of safety. We will work quickly to file a protection order which will help to keep your ex-spouse away from you and your children so that you can act from a place of clarity.

We will continue to support you through all the family law matters that need addressing and will empower you with knowledge about our rights as a woman and a mother so that you can begin to rebuild your life. We will fight to make sure that the court knows about your experiences and that they are considered in all decisions.

Legal Separation

One alternative to divorce is legal separation. Legal separation does not legally end a marriage but allows couples to separate and come to decisions regarding child custody, child and spousal support, and property division. If the couple decides to continue their marriage, then they can do at any time.

The main reason why someone may prefer to legally separate is because of their religious beliefs. However, before you make the decision not to divorce, it is important to seek an initial consultation with a law firm that can run through the pros and cons of each and advise you based on your specific circumstances.

Post-Divorce Family Law Cases

When a divorce has been finalized, most people are relieved to finally be able to move past what is often a difficult time in their life. Unfortunately, even after a divorce has been finalized, mothers sometimes still need support from a family law attorney. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we have the skills and experience necessary to help you through all family law matters. Some common post-divorce issues we help women with include:

Contempt Proceedings

Court rulings, such as those made in a divorce decree, are legally binding, which means that if your ex-spouse reportedly fails to meet their obligations, then you have a right to file contempt proceedings.

A common example is missed child support payments. It can be incredibly frustrating as a single mother to not have the financial support you need to care for your child. Fortunately, child support payments do not disappear, and an attorney can help you secure all missed payments, often with interest.

It is important that you take proper legal action and do not try to take matters into your own hands. For example, if you refuse visitation as a way to punish your spouse to try and force them to pay what they owe you, then you will also be guilty of ignoring court orders.

Divorce Modification

Once your divorce decree has been issued, you are required to meet certain obligations. However, sometimes life changes, and the obligations laid out in your decree are no longer what’s in the best interests of you and your children, or they may have simply become unmanageable.

In this case, it is possible to apply for a divorce modification. To be successful, you will need to prove that there has been a ‘substantial change in circumstances. Examples include changing needs of the child, illness, job loss, discovery of hidden assets, and relocation. Your mother’s rights lawyer will help you with evidence why you require a change.

Mother’s Rights Lawyer in Indianapolis FAQ

Each divorce case is unique, and while some take just a few months, others take over a year. Each contested issue will require a different court hearing, which involves waiting for the court to be available to hear your case. Mediation can help move things along by resolving issues without court involvement. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we are skilled mediators but will never sacrifice your mother’s rights and will always be prepared to litigate if necessary.

Some women want to have representation from another woman or even another woman with the shared experience of motherhood. We are proud to be female-led, and our team consists of experienced attorneys from both sexes. If you have a preference of working with a female attorney, then we are more than happy to accommodate you.

Mothers and fathers are viewed as equal under the law. Some women believe that they will inevitably retain physical custody, but this is not the case. Ultimately the Judge will make a decision based on the child’s best interest, and it is up to you and your attorney to provide evidence of what that is.

The cost of divorce varies widely depending on the number of contested issues, the quality of your representation, and any other complicating factors. In your free consultation we can assess your case and give you a rough idea of the cost so you can make an informed decision about your next steps.

If your spouse earns significantly more than you, then it may be possible to appeal to the court for them to pay your legal fees, although generally, each spouse is expected to cover their own fees.

A mother can lose custody of her child if they have abused or neglected a child, are abusing drugs, or are unable to provide a safe home. If you have a history of addiction or abuse but have reformed, then you will need to show strong evidence to a Judge.

While a divorce is being finalized, sometimes warring spouses need guidance on key issues such as child custody, child support, and who stays in the family home. Therefore it may be necessary to file for temporary orders, which will place legal obligations on you and your ex-spouse for a specified amount of time (usually until your divorce decree is issued). The Judge may also issue temporary orders independently if they deem it necessary.

Speak To a Family Law Attorney for Mother’s Rights Today

Woodford Sathappan McGee is the only law firm in the Indianapolis area to focus exclusively on women. We believe that this allows us to uniquely meet the needs of mothers and advocate for their rights.

Our goal is simple – for you to move forward with your life in confidence.

Contact our law office today at 380-212-3731 to schedule a free consultation.

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