Erika N. Sylvester
Erika N. Sylvester focuses her practice in Family Law, Insurance Defense, and Personal Injury.
Erika represents clients in family matters including divorce, legal separation, custody, parenting time, child support, paternity, emancipation, post-decree modifications, relocations, education orders, prenuptial agreements, protective orders, and restraining orders. In her divorce practice, Erika advocates for spouses throughout their divorce proceedings and with post-divorce or dissolution issues such as modification of custody, support, or parenting time, along with enforcement or contempt issues when a party fails to abide by Court Order. She counsels clients with regard to child-related issues including child custody, child support, and parenting time. As a trained Guardian Ad Litem, Erika serves in cases representing children’s interests before the Court.
Erika represents insurance companies and their insureds, municipalities, and businesses with insurance defense issues including premises liability, police liability, and general tort liability. In addition to court appearances in both Federal and State courts, Erika assists clients with all stages of alternative dispute resolution including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and settlement. Erika realizes that different clients and circumstances require varying levels of legal involvement. She maintains this perspective with each client and communicates and advises clients varying legal approaches in light of each client’s individual goals.
Erika’s practice includes the representation of individuals in personal injury cases involved in auto accidents, trip or slip-and-falls, and other accidents resulting in injury that require medical treatment.
Erika’s approach to client service is to listen and address her clients’ questions in a timely and professional manner. She discusses the advantages and disadvantages to legal approaches in each case to ensure clients’ interests are being met and cases are handled with care. A former Division I collegiate basketball player, Erika enjoys challenges both within the practice of law as well as during her free time when she enjoys participating in recreational leagues, races, and community events
- Insurance Defense
Shella Wilde as guardian of Taylor Bell v. The Hamilton County Sheriff, et al., 2016 WL 409307 (S.D. Ind. 2016); The guardian of a teen who attempted to commit suicide-by-cop sued police and sheriff departments (Client) following the injury of the teen who flailed a gun at police and sheriff personnel. The federal district court granted the sheriff department’s motion to dismiss with prejudice finding there were no viable causes of action under § 1983, Monell claims and a claim for inadequate training, supervision and discipline against the sheriff’s department.
- Personal Injury
A family of three was injured in a car crash when an intoxicated man crashed his truck into the family’s vehicle. Client ultimately agreed to a six-figure settlement at mediation.
A Client relocated to Seattle for current spouse’s employment opportunity. Despite attempts by the other party, the Child was successfully relocated to the west coast to be with Client on a temporary and later permanent basis. Client was ultimately awarded a modification of custody.
Settled dissolution wherein Client was the primary breadwinner and the opposition demanded significant maintenance/spousal support in addition to full custody of children. Client entered agreement without paying maintenance/spousal support and maintaining joint custody of children.
Client maintained custody and obtained an order to prevent opposing party’s significant other from being present during parenting time based upon the best interest of the child. The court further ordered a drug screen be imposed to ensure the safety and interest of the child.
Areas of Emphasis
- Personal Injury
Valparaiso University School of Law (J.D., 2010)
Bradley University (B.S. Business Management with Legal Emphasis, 2007)
Bars & Admissions
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
Awards & Recognition
- Hamilton County Pro Bono Commendation, 2013
- Pro Bono Degree Notation, 2010
- Finalist Gabrielli Family Law Moot Court Competition, 2010
- Moot Court Member of Year, 2010
- Semester Grade Honors, 2009
- Indiana State Bar Association
- Hamilton County Bar Association
- Indianapolis Zoo Associate Counsel
- Valparaiso University School of Law Central Indiana Alumni Council