In Indiana, child custody is based on the best interests of the child, and the court decides which parent is best fit to care for a child. Navigating a child custody case can be confusing for many people. That’s why our Indiana lawyers have provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to child custody.
What is physical custody?
Physical custody refers to the physical location of a child. One parent may have primary physical custody, while the other parent may have partial physical custody or visitation rights. In Indiana, both parents may share custody jointly, meaning that children are split equally between parents.
The parent who seeks to gain primary or full physical custody of a child must demonstrate that he or she has the child’s best interests at heart and is fully capable of caring for the child. The court may consider changing which parent is granted custody if a custodial parent’s circumstances change or the child isn’t being cared for.
How is child custody determined in Indiana?
Physical custody can be worked out between two parents, but the court may intervene if an agreement can’t be reached. When this happens, both parents will have to attend a hearing where the court determines how physical custody will be arranged.
The factors the court may take into consideration include:
- Age and gender of the child
- Child custody interests of each parent
- The relationship each parent has with the child
- The child’s relationship with siblings and other relatives
- Physical and mental health of each parent and/or the child
- History of domestic abuse or family violence
- Anyone else who may be caring for the child
- Wishes of the child
Who is responsible for paying child support?
The party making child support payments is determined by the court. If both parents share custody and their incomes are similar, they may be able to avoid separate child-support obligations.
If you’re obligated to pay child support, but do not pay, your decision may be harmful to your child. In addition, you may face legal consequences, including jail time and fines.
When can a child decide which parent to live with?
A child does not get to choose who he or she lives with. Rather, the court must consider the wishes of a child if he or she is at least 14 years old and may take those wishes into consideration when making a decision. The court may consider the wishes of a child under the age of 14 in some cases, depending upon the child’s emotional and mental maturity.
Should I hire an attorney when dealing with a child custody dispute?
Determining child custody and maintaining your rights as a parent isn’t easy. If you’re dealing with a child custody dispute, it’s critical that you speak to an experienced Indiana attorney who can counsel you on your rights. The lawyers at Hocker Law, LLC can help with the process of mediating your case or taking it to trial. Our law firm typically handles cases involving:
- Child custody arrangements
- Child custody orders
- Protecting parents’ rights from termination
We have law offices in Indianapolis and Greenwood, Indiana. Contact us online or call us to set up your free legal consultation.