CHILD CUSTODY AND PARENTING TIME
In Indiana, custody of a child is determined by the "best interests" standard. The court must determine whether it would be in a childís best interests to have his mother, his father, or both parents as his custodians.
There are types of custody under Indiana law: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make decisions regarding a child's education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Physical custody defines where the child resides on a regular basis. Parents can share legal and physical custody of a child (referred to as "joint custody"), or one parent can be deemed to be the "legal custodian" or the "primary physical custodian," with the other parent receiving the right to visit with child.
Indiana has adopted the "Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines", which are designed to standardize the "parenting time" or visitation rights of non-custodial parents in Indiana. The Parenting Time Guidelines represent the minimum amount of time that a parent should have with his child on a regular basis, and also discuss parenting time during holidays. The Guidelines are designed to encourage frequent and meaningful contact between parents and children. There is a presumption that the Guidelines apply in all custody disputes, but a court may deviate from the Guidelines if necessary and appropriate.
Our attorneys recognize that the emotional and financial costs of child custody disputes can be enormous. We strive to achieve the best result possible for you, while working to minimize the expense. Although the best results often are achieved through informal settlement negotiations or mediation sessions with a third party, we are prepared to vigorously advocate your case at trial.