Fort Wayne Child Custody Attorney
When minor children are involved in Indiana divorce proceedings, custody issues will be a central issue in the process. Even when the parents are not married, either one may ask a court to make a determination on custody. Regardless of the circumstances, state law is clear that the child’s best interests are the guiding factor. Applying this legal standard can be complicated, especially considering the emotional stakes that exist for feuding parents.
At the Bellinger Law Office in Fort Wayne, Indiana, our attorneys know that your children mean the world to you and your primary objective in a child custody matter is to maintain a strong, healthy relationship with them. Whether your case involves divorce proceedings, unmarried parents, agreements, mediation, or litigation, our child custody lawyers are here to serve your needs.
Overview of Child Custody Laws in Indiana
Indiana statutes on child custody and visitation encourage parents to agree on decision making, parenting time, and living arrangements for the child. These laws require mediation for any family law matter involving children, a process that can be very effective in helping parents reach a compromise on such issues. However, in the absence of agreement, a court will make a determination on the matter by referring to the child’s best interests standard. There are eight factors involved in child custody decisions, including:
- Whether there is any history or threat of violence;
- The child’s age and sex;
- The child’s interactions with each of the parents, siblings, and other influential individuals;
- The wishes of the child, with more consideration if he or she is age 14 or older;
- The child’s connections to the existing home, school, and community environments; and,
- Other considerations listed in the statute.
Types of Child Custody
Courts use the child’s best interests factors in when determining the type of child custody that would be appropriate, such as:
- Legal Custody: With this arrangement, parents share in making decisions on important issues affecting the child’s welfare and care. Examples would be choices regarding medical care, education, participation in religion, and extracurricular activities. The amount of time a child spends with each parent is not a factor in legal custody.
- Physical Custody: This term is what comes to mind when people use the term “having custody” of a child, and it generally refers to where the child is physically present.
- Sole Versus Joint Custody: Under Indiana law, the preferred arrangement is for parents to enjoy joint custody which allows them to share in decision making and parenting time for the child. In certain, rare situations, a court will award sole custody to one parent. Judges are usually reluctant to cut one parent out of the picture unless there is a pattern of abuse.
Contact a Knowledgeable Fort Wayne, IN Lawyer About Child Custody Issues
If you have questions about child custody in Indiana and want to discuss your situation with an attorney, please contact the Bellinger Law Office at 260-428-2214. You can also visit us online to schedule a consultation regarding your circumstances. We assist clients in all types of family law matters and we are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals in a Fort Wayne, IN child custody case.