Child Custody Attorneys in Anderson, Indiana Helping Families Solve Custody Issues
It can be heart-wrenching to realize that your divorce may mean less time spent with your children. Custody questions are often the thorniest part of a divorce when children are too young to be on their own. While it is always best if parents can come to an agreement on their own to co-parent their children with a minimum of conflict, this is not always possible. Even when parents do agree, the courts must confirm that the agreed-upon custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child or children. Therefore, it can be helpful to enlist the assistance and professional skill of an experienced child custody attorney who can help parents hammer out parenting time, child support, and other agreements that the court is likely to confirm, or if no agreement is possible, to go to court to have a judge decide.
How is Child Custody Determined in Indiana?
In Indiana, child custody is based on serving the best interests of the child. In determining what is best for the child, the court will look at the relationship each parent has with the child, the ability of each parent to provide a stable home environment, the moral fitness of each parent, and other factors that affect the child’s quality of life. In addition, there are other specific factors that the court will consider in determining child custody. They include, but are not limited to:
- The age of the child(ren)
- The sex of the child(ren)
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of the child(ren) with added weight to this factor if the child is age 14 or over
- The child’s relationship with both the parents and other members of each household, such as step-parents, siblings, or step-siblings
- The health of the parents and children, both mental and physical
- Any history of domestic or family violence committed by either parent or any household member
- Any criminal history of either parent or other household members
How Are Physical and Legal Custody Different?
Physical custody refers to the time a child spends in the presence and care of a parent. In Indiana, physical custody may be sole—meaning one parent spends most of the time caring for the child or children,–or joint—which means that the parents share time caring for the child or children more or less equally. Legal custody may also be sole or joint and refers to the parents’ ability to make decisions for the child, such as for medical care, choice of school or religion, travel, and other legal or educational decisions. It is possible, and common, for a parent to have sole physical custody but joint legal custody. This does not necessarily mean that all decisions must be agreed on by both parents but that each parent has the right to make these decisions while the child is in their care.
Can Child Custody Be Modified in Indiana?
Indiana allows either parent to petition for a change in a child custody order only if there has been a significant and ongoing change in circumstances since the original order was issued, and the requested custody change is in the child’s best interests. Such changes could include a change in the age of the child; the child’s wishes if over age 14; a change in one or both parents’ wishes, concerns about the child’s adjustment to home, school, or community; or a change in the mental or physical health of the child or either parent, among other things. Even if both parents agree (and the child, if 14 or older) to a change in custody, it is best to seek a court order. Otherwise, the original order remains in place and can be enforced in case of future disagreement.
Call Beeman Heifner Benge Today
Our experienced and compassionate child custody attorneys are here to help your family come to a child custody arrangement that works. We care, and we can help. Call us today at (765) 234-8024 for a free consultation.