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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What’s Going On?

While it has been fun for me to check news headlines against my data (of 109 divorce cases involving children from Marion County filed over 3 months in 2008), my law review articles resulting from this data look at how closely the Indiana courts follow legislative mandates and national trends on property division and child-related matters in divorce.

First in regards to property-related issues, Indiana has moved toward limiting spousal support, like other states.  According to the Indiana family law code, rehabilitative maintenance can be awarded for up to 3 years, or as long as the spouse can’t work due to a health issue or a child’s health issue.  Indeed, in my sample of divorce cases, only in 3 cases did a spouse receive spousal support.  This may be in contrast to many people’s expectations regarding alimony.  The Marion County courts also seemed inclined toward approximately a 50/50 property division, as the rebuttable presumption in the Indiana family law code requires.

Second, in regards to child-related matters, while the mother received primary custody in a bit more than half of the cases, there seems to be an effort to closely involve both parents no matter the custody arrangement.  In my data, visitation was very liberally awarded, as can be seen by the fact that many parents had a parenting time credit applied toward their child support, which aims to offset the child’s daily living costs during extensive visitation.  About 1/3 of cases had child support arrears, which is in line with difficulties in child support collection around the globe.

It’s been really interesting to see all this data to check against family law theories and headlines.  While it’s just one set of data, it’s been a useful glimpse into what’s going on today.

Posted by Margaret Ryznar on November 30, 2016 at 06:13 AM | Permalink

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