Experienced Legal Representation for Child Custody Matters
Our Carmel child custody lawyer represents parents, grandparents, and other
family members in all child custody matters. Whether you are seeking custody
of your child or requesting modifications to an existing custody order,
Hains Law, LLC can help.
We have extensive experience helping clients overcome challenging situations
What You Need to Know about Child Custody in Indiana
Regardless of the circumstances you are facing and regardless of your relationship
with the children involved, making informed decisions and securing a favorable
outcome requires a detailed understanding of the laws that govern child
custody cases in Indiana.
How Courts Determine the “Best Interests” of the Child
Indiana law requires all parties involved to focus their efforts on protecting
the best interests of the child or children involved. This is the standard
the courts apply in contested custody matters. As a result, it is also
the standard that parents, grandparents, and other family members must
apply when developing parenting plans and addressing other custody-related
issues out of court.
When determining what is in a child’s best interests, Indiana courts
focus on seven distinct factors:
- The age and sex of the child
- The wishes of the child’s parents
- The wishes of the child
- The child’s interaction and relationship with parents, siblings,
and other family members
- The child’s attachment to home, school, and community
- The child’s and parents’ mental and physical health
- Any evidence of a pattern of domestic violence
While there is a common perception that mothers are favored in child custody
proceedings, Indiana law expressly provides that there is no presumption
favoring either parent.
Choosing between Joint & Sole Custody
For divorcing and separating parents, one of the first steps in resolving
custody involves choosing between joint and sole custody.
Indiana recognizes physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers
to the right to live with and provide a primary home environment for a
child. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions on
a child’s behalf. In divorce and separation cases, it is possible
for parents to share or separately have rights to physical custody, legal
custody, or both.
Generally, Indiana courts take the position that it is in a child’s
best interests for both parents to play an active role in his or her life.
As a result, joint physical and legal custody arrangements and arrangements
involving clearly delineated parenting time are most common. However,
the courts will award sole custody in appropriate circumstances.
Awards of sole custody are most common in situations involving:
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse or neglect
- Substance or alcohol abuse
- Legal trouble
If none of these considerations are pertinent, an award of joint custody
will more likely be assumed to be in the child’s best interests.
When structuring joint physical custody, parents have a variety of options,
including alternating weeks, splitting weeks in half, and making other
arrangements that work with their respective schedules.
Structuring Parenting Time
In many circumstances, it makes sense for everyone if one parent has primary
custody of the couple’s children and the other parent has regularly
scheduled visitation. Visitation is referred to as “parenting time”
in Indiana. Indiana law gives parents the flexibility to develop mutually
agreeable arrangements when it is possible to do so. When it isn’t,
it will apply Indiana’s Parenting Time Guidelines.
While a common parenting schedule gives the non-custodial parent visitation
time every other weekend and on specified holidays, this schedule does
not necessarily work for everyone. During the divorce or separation process,
it will be important for parents to think critically about different alternatives
that may better serve their needs and the needs of their children. Our
Carmel child custody lawyer can help you develop and implement a parenting
plan that works for your family’s unique situation.
Ensure the Best for Your Children
Whether you are preparing to negotiate parenting time, need help securing
grandparent visitation rights, or are facing any other issue involving
the custody of a child in Indiana, Hains Law, LLC can help you achieve
a desirable outcome as quickly, painlessly, and cost-effectively as possible.
Our Carmel child custody lawyer brings a decade of experience to each
case, ensuring that every client receives the personal attention they deserve.
To get started with a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at
(317) 588-2883 or
request an appointment online today.