Determining child custody arrangements can be an incredibly difficult process for any parent, whether it’s in the context of a divorce or a paternity case. If you are going through a divorce in Indiana, considering filing for divorce, or have a child that was born out of wedlock, it is important to understand the state’s child custody laws.
Our dedicated Indiana child custody attorneys at McNeelyLaw can help you negotiate a fair agreement in complex situations, and we can advocate for you in court if an agreement cannot be reached. We assist parents in obtaining and modifying child custody and support orders in Indiana. Get legal counsel immediately to learn about your options and protect your rights.
For married parents who are divorcing, child custody is determined by the court during divorce proceedings. Parents who were not married and cannot agree on how to share parental duties can request a custody order from the court in a paternity matter.
Several factors are considered when determining physical custody arrangements for children. These factors include the wishes of both parents, as well as any preferences expressed by the children. The court may also take into account each parent’s financial situation, any history of domestic violence, and any special needs of the children.
In Indiana, child custody is divided into two parts – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to who makes major decisions regarding how the child is raised, such as education, health care, and religion. Physical custody refers to where the child lives.
Legal custody can be awarded solely to one parent, or it can be awarded jointly to both parents. In determining whether to award joint custody, courts will consider, among other factors, whether the parents agree to share joint legal custody, the parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate in advancing their child’s welfare, and the physical and emotional environment of each parent’s home.
Physical custody may also be awarded to one parent only (often referred to as sole or primary custody) or shared by both parents (joint custody). Joint physical custody means a child will spend equal time with each parent. Parenting time arrangements (formerly called visitation) should be tailored to the needs of the child. A skilled family law attorney can help you craft custody and parenting time plans that are reasonable and healthy for your family.
When making decisions about child custody arrangements, courts must always look at what is in “the best interests of the child” rather than what is convenient for the parents. Courts usually consider things like each parent’s:
Courts also consider a wide range of other factors that may affect the parties’ parenting skills or ability to meet their children’s needs. Additionally, courts typically prefer arrangements that keep children together when possible since this helps maintain family structure and continuity for all involved parties.
An experienced child custody attorney who understands the relevant statutes and case law surrounding such cases can represent your interests and help avoid the risks of going it alone without legal representation.
A skilled attorney can help negotiate fair agreements between divorcing or separated parents regarding custody, parenting time schedules, and child support payments. Your attorney will also protect your rights throughout this difficult process so you do not end up getting taken advantage of unfairly or making poor decisions because you’re overwhelmed.
At McNeelyLaw, we have the necessary experience to help clients resolve their child custody disputes amicably or take their cases to court. Discuss your legal options with our Indiana child custody attorneys if you need assistance in negotiating, modifying, or enforcing a child custody arrangement. Call us today to get a case review.
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