Child Custody between Parents in Indiana
In Indiana, custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child. A child’s best interests is determined by a court after consideration of a series of factors that are outlined in statute and case law. There are two basic types of custody: legal custody and physical custody.
- Legal custody refers to the power to make major decisions that arise in a child’s life, including education, health care, and religious decisions. Parents may share joint legal custody or one party may have sole legal custody.
- Physical custody refers to where the child physically resides. In many cases, one parent will be designated to serve as the residential parent or physical custodian and the other parent will have parenting time, which is sometimes governed by an application of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Alternatively, more families are adopting “shared parenting arrangements” where the parents more equally divide physical custody of a child.
We regularly work with parents to create a custody arrangement by agreement that will serve the best interests of the child and allow parents to maximize time spent with their child If a custody and parenting time agreement is reached, the agreement should be reduced to writing, signed by both parties, and filed for approval in the court in which the order is to be enforceable. If parents are unable to reach a custody and parenting time arrangement by agreement, issues regarding legal custody, physical custody, and/or legal custody are presented to a court for determination. Although we generally believe that it is in a child’s and family’s best interest for parents to reach custody and parenting time arrangements by agreement, in those cases where litigation is necessary, we zealously and effectively advocate for our clients’ positions in a professional and responsible manner.
NLKJ attorneys can assist parties in a range of custody and parenting time situations, including:
- Establishing an appropriate custody and parenting time schedule based on the unique circumstances and dynamics involved in a case;
- Modifying a current custody and parenting time schedule;
- Enforcing court-ordered parenting time if parenting time rights are being denied;
- Filing paperwork incident to a potential relocation of either parent;
- Defending against efforts to reduce or eliminate time with a child.