Family Law

"Family Law" is a broad term encompassing many different types of cases concerning domestic relations and/or the family. Included in this area of law are divorce, child custody, child support, rules to show cause (contempt actions), adoption, and paternity cases, among others. Family Law cases are typically very personal and often have long-lasting ramifications. The attorneys at Effner Law Firm can handle these types of cases for you, and we have the skill and experience to effectively help you through what can be a difficult and stressful time. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


Divorce, called "Dissolution of Marriage" in Indiana, is the process by which a marriage is terminated and the parties (husband and wife) are restored to the state of unmarried persons. If you are interested in a divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, contact us and set up an appointment to discuss your specific situation.

At the initial appointment, we will obtain information from you, decide what investigation must occur, if any, and advise you as to what you can expect to happen concerning the dissolution process. We are often able to file your Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage on the same day as your initial appointment, if you so desire.

Once the Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage is filed, either party may request that a Restraining Order be entered to preserve the assets of the marriage while the dissolution is pending. If necessary, the Restraining Order may also prohibit either party from abusing, harassing, or disturbing the peace of the other party. Restraining Orders may also deal with other issues, and if one is requested, the Court will typically set the matter for a hearing.

A Preliminary Hearing may also be requested after the Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage is filed. The purpose of a Preliminary Hearing is to decide what is to happen regarding assets, debts, child custody, child support and other issues of concern while the dissolution is pending and before it is final. In Indiana, the law requires that a dissolution of marriage action remain open at least sixty (60) days after the Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage is filed. We use that state-mandated minimum sixty (60) day time period to collect information and prepare your case.

In Indiana, the law requires a fair and equitable division of assets and debts. After investigation and discussion with you, we will seek a settlement with your spouse and/or his/her attorney. If we are not able to reach an agreement that is reasonable and acceptable to you, we will proceed to a trial in front of the Judge. This trial is called a Final Hearing.


If an agreement cannot be reached regarding child custody, the Court, after a hearing, will determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child(ren). In making such a determination, the Court will consider many factors. It may be necessary to seek home studies and obtain professional opinions. Of course, we will help guide you through this process.

A parent not granted custody of a child is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the Court finds, after a hearing, that visitation by the noncustodial parent might endanger the child's physical health or significantly impair the child's emotional development. Visitation typically is to take place according to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines established by the Indiana Supreme Court.


Child support payments are typically calculated according to a State Guideline which takes into account the income of both parents, among other things. Depending on the circumstances involved, deviation from the Guidelines may be possible.


A Rule To Show Cause is a process used to enforce a prior Order of the Court. It requests the Court to set a hearing and compel the non-compliant party to explain why he/she is not following the Court's Order. This procedure usually involves the failure to pay child support payments.


A Paternity Action is a Court action instituted to determine whether a person is the father of a child born out of wedlock. Common issues in these cases include child support, child custody, and visitation. If paternity is disputed, a DNA analysis may be required.


Family Law cases typically involve extremely important matters. You need the guidance of a skilled attorney during what can be a very difficult and stressful time. Our experienced attorneys are known for attention to detail, integrity, accessibility, and a strong commitment to the best interests of our clients. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.