Child Custody Lawyers in New Albany, Indiana

Your children are likely the most important people in the world to you.  When a divorce is happening, it’s hard to imagine not having your children with you every night.

We understand.

If children are involved in your divorce or separation, it will be critical to obtain the services of an experienced child custody attorney. As New Albany child custody lawyers, we work hard to get our clients the best results possible under the law.  Call us to learn how we can help you.

Indiana Child Custody Presumptions and Considerations

For parents, it’s important to understand several aspects of how Indiana law applies in child custody matters:

  • There is a presumption that both parents are qualified and suitable for custody.  There is no presumption that the mother should be awarded custody.
  • Custody concerns both legal custody (the ability to make decisions for the welfare of the child) and physical custody (who the child will live with).
  • The Court may take into consideration the desires of a child; but the child can’t dictate where he or she will live.
  • The Court will also consider the needs of the child, and whether one parent is better suited to care for specific needs the child may have.

Child custody cases are among the most sensitive legal matters, and they demand a focused approach tailored to the unique needs of each family. As a child custody law firm with decades of experience, we prioritize your child’s well-being and your peace of mind. Whether you’re facing a contested divorce, modifying an existing custody order, or navigating the path to legal guardianship, we’re here to stand by your side. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced child custody attorney.

What Are the Types of Child Custody in Indiana?

Indiana recognizes several types of custody designed to address both the physical and legal aspects of a child’s care. Understanding these types of custody considerations can help parents know what options might be available to them in a custody dispute or agreement.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where the child lives. In most situations, one parent will have primary physical custody, which means that the child will live more than 50% of the time with that parent.  The other parent will then have visitation rights (now referred to as “parenting time”), which will include having the child live with them.  Even if a parent does not have primary physical custody, the parent can still have joint legal custody of the children.

Legal Custody

Legal custody involves the right to make significant decisions about the child’s life, including education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and general welfare. Like physical custody, legal custody can be sole or joint.

  • Sole Legal Custody: One parent has the exclusive right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing and welfare.
  • Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share the responsibility and authority to make significant decisions about their child’s life. This requires a high level of cooperation between the parents to ensure the child’s best interests are served.

Sole Custody

Sole custody can refer to both physical and legal custody being awarded to one parent. This parent has both the primary responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child and the exclusive right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing. Sole custody is less common and is usually awarded when the court believes it’s in the best interests of the child, such as in cases where one parent is deemed unfit or unable to care for the child.

Joint Custody

Joint custody involves both parents in the child’s life. It can include any combination of joint legal and joint physical custody. Joint custody arrangements require parents to work together to make decisions in the best interests of the child and often necessitate a detailed parenting plan to outline how decisions will be made and how time with the child will be shared.

Shared Custody

Shared custody is a form of joint custody where children spend an approximately equal amount of time with each parent. This arrangement is less common and requires a logistical setup that supports the child’s needs, including maintaining stability in schooling and community ties.

Because of the many possible arrangements involving physical and legal custody, it will be critical to retain an experienced Indiana child custody lawyer if you have minor children and are in the process of divorcing.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Indiana?

In Indiana, the process for determining child custody centers on the “Best Interests of the Child” standard. This standard ensures that all custody decisions made by the courts prioritize the well-being and stability of the child involved in a custody dispute following a divorce or separation.

What Factors Do Indiana Courts Consider in Making Child Custody Decisions?

Indiana courts meticulously examine a variety of factors to discern what arrangement will best serve the child’s needs and interests, including:

  • Parental Preferences: The courts take into account each parent’s desires regarding custody and parenting time.
  • Child’s Wishes: The preferences of the child may be considered depending upon the child’s age, maturity, and capacity to make reasoned decisions.
  • Caretaking History: The amount of caregiving undertaken by each parent before the custody proceedings, including any arrangements since the child’s birth or over the previous two years, is evaluated.
  • Relationships and Interactions: The nature of the child’s relationships with parents, siblings, and other significant individuals in their life is assessed for its impact on the child’s well-being.
  • Adjustment to Home and Community: The child’s ability to adapt to their living situation, school, and community environment is considered.
  • Health of All Parties: The physical and mental health of the child and each parent are considered.
  • Needs of the Child: The courts assess the specific needs of the child and how each parent meets those needs.
  • Logistical Factors: The practicality of transportation, the geographical distance between parents, and the feasibility of maintaining a cooperative parenting arrangement are evaluated.
  • Potential for Restricted Parenting Time: Instances where parenting time might need to be limited, such as in cases of violence or abuse, are carefully scrutinized.
  • Violence and Abuse: Any history of violence or abuse towards the child or within the household is critically important in the court’s decision-making process.
  • Willingness to Foster a Positive Relationship: Each parent’s willingness to support a positive relationship between the child and the other parent is considered.

The subjective nature of the “Best Interests” standard means that each custody case in Indiana is unique and requires a thoughtful, individualized approach. This necessitates the involvement of a dedicated child custody attorney who can effectively advocate for a parenting arrangement that aligns with the child’s best interests while also considering the client’s goals.

As New Albany child custody attorneys with decades of experience, we bring a comprehensive understanding of Indiana’s child custody laws and a commitment to fostering positive outcomes for families navigating these challenging circumstances.

Schedule A Consultation With An Experienced New Albany Child Custody Attorney.

If you have questions about child custody in Indiana, please call our office. We would look forward to meeting with you at a time that is convenient with your schedule to learn about your matter.

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