Divorce is a difficult process. When there are children involved, it becomes even more nuanced and complex. Decades ago, the courts naturally favored mothers getting custody of their children. However, times have changed, and now the courts favor children continuing healthy relationships with each parent. When that is not possible for some reason, such as in cases of abuse or abandonment, sometimes fathers can be granted full physical or legal custody of their children. In fact, fathers have custody rights just as mothers do today. Suppose you are a father facing a custody matter. In that case, it’s imperative that you have an experienced Indiana family law lawyer on your side.
Indiana categorizes child custody by physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with. Legal custody refers to who can make important decisions in the child’s life. These include educational, medical, and religious decisions. Physical and legal custody doesn’t always involve the same division between the parents.
Indiana family courts can award legal or physical custody to one parent, both parents, or one to each. Parents can also share custody, but one parent might have primary custody. If there is joint legal custody, each parent must consult the other when major decisions about their child’s life must be made. Your Indiana family law attorney can explain these types of custody arrangements to you in more detail.
There is nothing that generally precludes father’s from getting sole custody of their children in Indiana. In fact, the courts aren’t allowed to consider the gender of the parent when making custody decisions. All court decisions are based on what is in the child’s best interest, not simply whether they live with the mom or the dad.
When it comes to court custody decisions, the child’s health, welfare, and safety come first. Next, the court prioritizes giving the child contact with both of their parents. Whenever possible, judges have the child remain in contact with both parents through the custody arrangement. The court wants to maintain stability for the child in their home life and also will sometimes consider the desires of the child.
When the custody case begins, both parents are on equal ground. Each parent must show the court that their desires are in the best interests of the child. Hiring a skilled Indiana family law lawyer who is familiar with the local court system and judges can be an invaluable asset in proving this.
As a father, seeking custody of your children could be the most crucial court battle you will ever fight. By hiring a seasoned Fort Wayne family law attorney to help you fight it, you can increase your chances of a favorable outcome for both you and your children. At The Bellinger Law Office, we know how difficult this process can be, and we will stand by you for as long as necessary. Should you ever need to modify your custody agreement, we will be here for you then as well. Contact us today to schedule your private case review.