Establishing child custody and visitation rights can be a complex and emotional process
For parents going through a divorce or separation, questions about child custody and visitation rights can be very difficult to manage. Fortunately, Indiana courts have set procedures in place for handling these issues.
Generally, judges are required to make their decisions on child custody matters according to what is best for the child. To determine the best interests of the child, judges look at a variety of factors.
As experienced child custody lawyers in Indiana, the attorneys at Hocker Law, LLC strive to provide our clients with fair agreements that fulfill the needs of both parents and children. When negotiation is not possible, we can either bring your case to a mediator or take it to trial while always keeping your needs as our priority and taking into consideration the best interest of the child.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us online today.
What are the best interests of the child?
In a child custody case, a judge will consider the best interests of the child. This can include factors such as:
- The child's relationship with each parent.
- The child's home environment.
- The child's physical and emotional needs.
- The child's education and extracurricular activities.
- The child's religious and cultural background.
- Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent.
Additionally, judges may consider each parent's ability to co-parent and communicate effectively, job stability, and the child's preference (if the child is old enough to express a preference, typically age 14 or older). The court may also consider the parent's criminal history and any history of substance abuse.
Does the court favor one parent over the other?
When it comes to child custody in Indiana, the court does not automatically assume that either parent is a better-suited custodian. Unless there are extreme circumstances such as abuse, the courts operate on the presumption that it is best for the child to have an ongoing relationship with both parents, and so custody is structured accordingly.
Keep in mind that there are two aspects of child custody in Indiana: physical and legal. Physical custody involves the child's day-to-day care, while legal custody relates to important decisions regarding their health, education, and more. Depending on the situation, both parents may share both types of custody, or one parent can be the primary custodian.
Parenting time for a noncustodial parent
When one parent is given primary physical custody of a child after divorce in Indiana, the other parent is typically entitled to visitation rights, according to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. These guidelines ensure that noncustodial parents maintain a strong relationship with their children, taking into consideration factors such as age and previous contact.
Except in extraordinary circumstances, these guidelines apply to nearly all child custody situations involving a noncustodial parent. The guidelines also provide additional information, such as who is responsible for transportation between residences before and after scheduled parenting times and how to divide summer vacation time.
How can a child custody lawyer help me?
A child custody lawyer can assist you in a variety of ways during a child custody case, including:
- Advising you on your legal rights and options by explaining the laws and regulations that apply to your case and helping you understand the different types of custody arrangements that are available.
- Gathering and presenting evidence to support your case, such as witness statements, medical records, and other relevant documents.
- Negotiating with the other parent and helping you reach a custody agreement that is in your child's best interests.
- Representing you in court and advocating for your rights and your child's best interests.
- Helping you understand the process and the court's decision, as well as the reasoning behind it, and explaining the next steps.
- Helping you to modify a custody order if life circumstances have changed significantly.
- Helping you to enforce a custody order if the other party is not complying with the terms of the order.
Child custody disputes can be difficult and complex for both parents. Hocker Law, LLC is here to help preserve your relationship with your child. Our experienced attorneys take the time to listen to your individual needs and create a plan that is tailored to your situation. In addition, we address common custody disputes, including payment of child support, visitation rights, timing of child custody arrangements, and more.
Our team is here to provide reliable legal counsel so that you can have peace of mind knowing that the outcome is fair for all involved. We understand the importance of the relationships between children and their parents. That's why our lawyers work hard to provide a level of service that focuses on preserving those ties.
For more information, contact us today to see how we can help you.