The Hamilton County Family Law Rules were updated on July 1, 2019. This post discusses those rules:
To Whom do these Rules Apply?
The rules shall apply in all divorce, post-divorce, paternity and post-paternity cases.
What is Required by Litigants in These Cases?
Parties shall complete the Indiana Child Support Obligation Worksheets and Financial Declarations on the forms adopted by the Hamilton County Circuit and Superior Courts in all matters involving child support or disposition of assets.
Financial Declarations shall be exchanged by the parties within thirty (30) days of a new case or modification petition being filed, unless by agreement of the parties or leave of the Court.
All parties shall submit Declarations to the court as an exhibit immediately prior to any contested hearing involving child support, the disposition of assets, or maintenance.
Mediation is Required
Parties shall attend mediation before any of the following contested court hearings unless excused by the court.
Mediation is not required for contempt motions alleging failure to pay child support or failure to allow parenting time. Also, a party may request to be excused from mediation in cases involving domestic violence.
A Co-Parenting Workshop is Required & An Online Option
Both of the parties in any cause of action for Dissolution of Marriage which involves minor children shall complete a co-parenting education program either online or in person. As of 9/16/19 acceptable courses are:
CO-PARENTING EDUCATION WORKSHOP
Children Cope with Divorce
A program of Franciscan VNS Home Care
Neutral Ground Solutions
600 E. Carmel Drive, Suite 161
Carmel, IN 46032
Online Parenting Programs (English and Spanish)
The Workshop must be completed by both parties within sixty (60) days of the filing of the initiating pleading and prior to the Final Hearing. Failure to complete the workshop can result in a party being ordered to appear and show cause why he/she should not be held in contempt of court and punished.
Collaborative Law Is Recognized
If the parties are both represented by attorneys trained in Collaborative Law, and have signed agreements with those attorneys to participate in a Collaborative Law family law matter, they may file a Joint Petition for Dissolution, and may file a stipulation asking among other things that the case not be set for conference or hearing.
*What is collaborative law? Read this.
New Restrictions Apply Immediately Upon Filing of a New Action
In any Domestic Relations case filed in Hamilton County, the parties shall not, without hearing or security:
a. Transfer, encumber, conceal, sell or otherwise dispose of any joint property of the parties or asset of the marriage except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, without the written consent of the parties or the permission of the Court. Any party acting “in the usual course of business” or “for the necessities of life” shall provide the other party with an accounting of same at the time of or, if possible, in advance of such action. Joint property of the parties or asset of the marriage includes property in the separate name of either party or in the names of a party and another person(s) owned or owed on the date of filing the Petition, including but not limited to:
i. Property or property interest of any kind, including real, personal, digital/electronic, and intellectual property;
ii. Records and electronically stored information, hard drives or other electronic storage devices, computers, and cloud storage accounts;
iii. All financial, investment, educational, and retirement accounts;
iv. Life and health insurance policies.
b. Remove any child of the parties then residing in the State of Indiana from the State with the intent to deprive the Court of jurisdiction over such child without the prior written consent of all parties or the permission of the Court.
c. The parties shall maintain unchanged all insurance policies (including beneficiary designations) in place as of the date that the family law action was commenced, including but not limited to life, health, auto, personal property, liability, and homeowners/renters insurance, absent written consent of the parties or the permission of the court.
d. Neither party shall incur any debt in the name of the other party or in the joint names of the parties, absent written consent of the parties or the permission of the court.
e. Neither party shall terminate/cancel/modify any utilities at the marital residence from those in place as of the date that the family law action was commenced absent written consent of the parties or the permission of the court.
f. Neither party shall conceal, alter or destroy any family, health, property financial or business records or any records of income, debts, or other obligations, including electronic records, which existed as of the date that the family law action was commenced.