Law Office of Shane BC Watson

Attorney at Law | LaPorte, Indiana

Jul 19

Child Support Age Lowered To 19 Years of Age – La Porte Attorney

by Shane Watson

In April 2012, the Indiana Legislature voted to lower the age of emancipation from 21 to 19 when they amended Indiana Code 31-14-11-18 for paternity matters and 31-16-6-6 of your child support was the product of a divorce.  This particular law will take effect on July 1, 2012.  What does this mean?  Well, this means that once a child reaches the age of 19, unless certain conditions apply, a parent can petition a court to terminate their child support obligation as of July 1, 2012.  Until recently, Indiana was one of only three states  that required child support payments to be made up to the age of 21 and the change to 19 had been rumored for years.  The obligation to pay child support does not terminate automatically.  A parent must actively and affirmatively petition the court for a cessation of a prior child support obligation.  DO NOT STOP PAYING SUPPORT ONCE YOUR CHILD REACHES THE AGE OF 19 UNTIL YOU HAVE SOUGHT LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND OBTAINED RELIEF FROM THE COURT.

Please note that a parent will still have the right to petition for post-secondary education expenses until the child reaches the age of 21, if the child support order was issued prior to July 1, 2012.  Any child support order that is issued on or after July 1, 2012 will require a petition for post-secondary expenses before the child reaches age of 19.  This is important information for a parent who is obligated to pay child support and the custodial parent who requires aid financing their children’s post-secondary education.  If you reside in La Porte, Michigan City, Porter County, Starke County, Marshall County or St. Joe County, contact Shane Watson through this website, the listed email, and/or phone number provided on this webpage.

AS MY PREVIOUS BLOG STATED, I AM CURRENTLY EMPLOYED BY HOWES & HOWES, LLP IN LA PORTE, INDIANA AND THE LAW OFFICE OF SHANE B.C. WATSON IS NO LONGER OPEN.  HOWEVER, ALL OF MY CONTACT INFORMATION IS THE SAME AND I MAY ALSO BE REACHED AT swatsonlaw@comcast.net or by phone at Howes & Howes, LLP at 219-326-7070.

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Apr 20

Indiana Legislature Lowers Age of Child Support to 19 – La Porte Attorney

by Shane Watson

In April 2012, the Indiana Legislature voted to lower the age of emancipation from 21 to 19 when they amended Indiana Code 31-14-11-18 for paternity matters and 31-16-6-6 of your child support was the product of a divorce.  This particular law will take effect on July 1, 2012.  What does this mean?  Well, this means that once a child reaches the age of 19, unless certain conditions apply, a parent can petition a court to terminate their child support obligation as of July 1, 2012.  Until recently, Indiana was one of only three states  that required child support payments to be made up to the age of 21 and the change to 19 had been rumored for years.  The obligation to pay child support does not terminate automatically.  A parent must actively and affirmatively petition the court for a cessation of a prior child support obligation.  DO NOT STOP PAYING SUPPORT ONCE YOUR CHILD REACHES THE AGE OF 19 UNTIL YOU HAVE SOUGHT LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND OBTAINED RELIEF FROM THE COURT.

Please note that a parent will still have the right to petition for post-secondary education expenses until the child reaches the age of 21, if the child support order was issued prior to July 1, 2012.  Any child support order that is issued on or after July 1, 2012 will require a petition for post-secondary expenses before the child reaches age of 19.  This is important information for a parent who is obligated to pay child support and the custodial parent who requires aid financing their children’s post-secondary education.  If you reside in La Porte, Michigan City, Porter County, Starke County, Marshall County or St. Joe County, contact Shane Watson through this website, the listed email, and/or phone number provided on this webpage.

AS MY PREVIOUS BLOG STATED, I AM CURRENTLY EMPLOYED BY HOWES & HOWES, LLP IN LA PORTE, INDIANA AND THE LAW OFFICE OF SHANE B.C. WATSON IS NO LONGER OPEN.  HOWEVER, ALL OF MY CONTACT INFORMATION IS THE SAME AND I MAY ALSO BE REACHED AT swatsonlaw@comcast.net or by phone at Howes & Howes, LLP at 219-326-7070.

This blog is provided simply to educate and provide information on legal topics and should not be construed as legal advice.  Any action taken on your part should be done with due consideration and only after consulting with trained legal counsel.

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Feb 07

Attorney Shane Watson Joins the La Porte, Indiana Firm of Howes & Howes, LLP

by Shane Watson

First, if you have retained my services in the past or are currently a client I would like to thank you for entrusting me to represent you in your legal matter.  Whether your case is presently ongoing or concluded I appreciate you placing your faith in me at a time that is quite often an exceptionally trying and stressful period in an individual’s life.  I would like to offer my gratitude for your business.

As of January 23, 2012, I accepted an Associate’s position with the firm of Howes and Howes, LLP.  I will be working out of the same office at 717 Indiana Avenue, LaPorte, Indiana 46350. You can still reach me by phone at the above-listed phone number or you
can also contact me at 219.326.7070.  As for now, I will keep my website active and I will have the same email address.  My email address will be changing and I will post that on my website when that becomes available (swatsonlaw@comcast.net).  Also, you can feel free to contact me by phone or mail and I will be happy to provide it to you.

Secondly, I will still be practicing in the same fields of law in which I practiced prior to accepting my positions at Howes & Howes, LLP.  If I am currently representing you, I will continue to do so with the same zeal and attention that I have, while operating my solo practice.  If I have represented you in the past, I will happily make myself available to you should any future need arise.

Last, I am very excited to continue serving the citizens of Northwest Indiana (including, but not limited to, the counties of La Porte, Porter, Marshall, Pulaski) as well as those clients, which I have represented that reside outside of Indiana’s confines, as an Associate with Howes & Howes, LLP.   Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, require any assistance or possess any concerns.

Wishing you the very best, I am,

Shane B.C. Watson

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Dec 07

Indiana Family Law: Custody and Paternity – A Brief Explanation

by Shane Watson

This is a very basic tutorial drafted by the Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson providing definitions and general facts pertaining to the rights and obligations of parents and the rights of your children as a resident of Indiana particularly those, which reside in La Porte County (La Porte and Michigan City), Porter County (Valparaiso, Porter and Chesterton), Starke (Knox), Pulaski County (Winamac) and St. Joseph County (South Bend and Mishawaka).

The birth of a child is a miraculous occasion. Mothers and fathers are justifiably excited about the new edition that will soon be occupying their home.  The arrival of a newborn can also create a great deal of stress and tension in a household or in less traditional settings in several households.  As you would undoubtedly guess, there is an overwhelming amount of Indiana law pertaining to paternity, custody, child support, and visitation (which is referred to as parenting time in Indiana) that is necessary to address matters involving the child when schisms in relationships occur and the best interest of the child must be determined.  As a pre-New Year’s resolution, I hope to begin a blog to supply readers with basic legal facts about family law.  In this edition, I will supply some legal tidbits pertaining to paternity and custody that every current or expecting mother and father should know about their rights and obligations as parents.

                Here are a few basic definitions and facts that should be understood by both parents.

Legal custody:  Is the right of a parent to help and participate in the decision-making process regarding such matters as what school the child will attend, what, if any, religion the child will participate, medical issues involving the the minor, whether or not the child will participate in extracurricular activities and if so what.

Physical custody:  Is also commonly referred to residential custody or in some haughty circles domiciliary custody.  In most situations, the child will reside with one parent, who is termed the residential or custodial parent and the other parent will be dubbed the non-custodial or non-residential parent.  In most circumstances, the non-custodial parent is entitled to visitation or what is denoted parenting time in Indiana.

Joint legal custody:  Is commonly ordered by the Court, so both parents can aid in the upbringing of their child(ren).  However, if the parents simply cannot put aside their differences for the betterment of the child, sole legal custody may be ordered by the Court. This would vest all decision-making power in one parent pertaining to the above-referenced legal custody definition.

Split or joint physical custody:  This is the oft tried and rarely accomplished splitting equally or as close to possible the duration of time that the child resides with each parent.  Although I have seen this extraordinary feat accomplished and court-approved, the Court is often apprehensive to grant such a request.  A child thrives on stability and routine (whether the child is aware of it or not) and shuffling a child from one house to another with no real home base is frequently viewed as harmful to health and care of the child and therefore,  not in the the child’s best interest.  With that being said, it is not unheard of and the Court may order this and has done so, when it appears that this particular living situation is in the best interest of the child.

Paternity:  The establishment of paternity is designating a particular individual as the biological father.  There are several ways to establish paternity through presumption or attestation.  Once paternity is established it creates certain rights and obligations, such as the right of a parent to visit with their child and the right of the custodial parent to request support from the non-custodial parent. The only way to enforce the right to parenting time or enforce a support obligation is to file a Petition for Paternity with the Court or have the new parents’ sign an agreement or stipulation with the Prosecutor’s Child Support Division agreeing to permit parenting time and calculating the proper amount of child support, which a non-custodial parent is obligated to pay. A parent that does not receive support from the other parent may not deny visitation to the other simply based on nonpayment once an agreement or order is in place.  If you don’t have an agreement or an
order issued by the court, despite your status as parent there will be no way to enforce your right to see your child.

If your child is not receiving support, a court order or agreement signed by the parties and authorized by a judge is the only way to have a regular and enforceable amount of payment that must be paid.  Once, an order is in place the party ordered to make payment is legally obligated to make pay or possibly have them taken directly from their check through a legal document called an Income Withholding Order (IWO).  A party that fails to make child support payments as ordered by the court may find that themselves in contempt of court or in extreme instances, even jail.  If the obligated parent has lost a job or their income has drastically diminished, the party should seek legal counsel to file a Petition to Modify Child Support.  Conversely, if the paying party’s income has increased significantly since the previous Order, the other parent may wish to retain legal counsel to file a Petition to Modify Child Support to seek an increase in a previously ordered support payment.

A man is presumed to be the biological father of a child if the father and the child’s biological mother are/or have been married to each other and the chid is born during or not after three hundred (300) days after the termination of the marriage by whatever means.  Please note that this is a presumption and not necessarily a fact.  As a practioner of family law, infidelity and monetary issues are probably the two greatest reasons cited for divorce or separation.  In rare instances, this infidelity leads to offspring where the husband is not the natural father.  Please note I have seen very few occasions where this is the case.

If a child is born out of wedlock and a man holds the child out to be his own child, takes the child into his home, despite the fact he may very well know that the child is not his own, there is a rebuttable presumption (which means that the belief that the man is the father is assumed, but can  be disproved by viable facts) that the man is not the father.  The other way that a man can be found to be the father of a child is by signing a paternity affidavit attesting to the be the father of the child.  I will address the paternity affidavit including the benefits, responsibilities, rights and pitfalls of this particular document in my next installment, which will hopefully be available shortly after the new year.

This blog is a product of the Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson and is by no means all inclusive and should not be construed as legal advice.  Each case is different and what may be very important in one case may not matter in the least in another case that would seem indistinguishable from the first to most people not versed in the law.  If you are reading this blog, it is likely that you are in need of legal assistance.  If you require legal advice, please seek out licensed legal counsel to address and resolve your problems.   This blog is presented by the Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson for educational purposes. Shane encourages you to call or email his office located in downtown La Porte to schedule a free initial consultation.    

Next issue: The Paternity Affidavit:  Case law, Statute and Recent Changes in the Paternity
Affidavit

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Apr 01

The Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson Launches its New Website

by Shane Watson

The Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson, has launched its new website.  On the website you will be able to find information about the Law Office as well as practice areas, blog articles, and contact information.

The Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson is located in downtown LaPorte, Indiana and proudly serves the legal interests of the residents of LaPorte, Porter and Starke counties. Explore the website and find out more about what the Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson can do to help you.

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The content of this website is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Contacting the Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson at his e-mail address or through his website does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Only by retaining the services of the Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson, is an attorney-client relationship formed.

The Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson currently serves clients in the following cities and towns: LaPorte, Michigan City, Porter, Valparaiso, Hamlet, Knox, and North Judson.