Child Custody in Indiana
If you and your child's other parent are no longer a couple, you will have to reach some decisions about child custody, visitation (known as "parenting time" in Indiana) and child support. Each parent should be represented by his or her own Indiana child custody attorney to help ensure that a fair agreement is reached.
Indiana Child Custody Process
Indiana parents should attempt to reach a mutually agreeable child custody arrangement. If you have trouble dealing directly with your child's other parent, you should use your Indiana child custody lawyers as intermediaries who can help negotiate a custody arrangement.
If a child custody agreement can't be reached, the Indiana family court will make child custody decisions on your behalf. Even if you do reach a child custody agreement, the court will review and approve it.
Types of Child Custody in Indiana
There are two types of child custody in Indiana. Legal custody is used to describe which parent has responsibility for making major life decisions for a minor child. Physical custody describes where the child lives. For both of these, a parent can have either sole custody or joint custody, meaning custody is shared between both parents. When reviewing child custody agreements or making a custody ruling, the Indiana courts will consider the best interests of the child.
In Indiana, visitation is also known as parenting time. According to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines:
"The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are based on the premise that it is usually in a child's best interest to have frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with each parent. It is assumed that both parents nurture their child in important ways, significant to the development and well being of the child. The Guidelines also acknowledge that scheduling parenting time is more difficult when separate households are involved and requires persistent effort and communication between parents to promote the best interest of the children involved."
Child Support in Indiana
When calculating Indiana child support, the court will look at the monthly income of both parents, the child's typical living expenses, how much time the child spends with each parent and other factors. Your Indiana child support lawyer can help you estimate an appropriate child support award. The court can modify child support awards if either parent has a major change in financial circumstances or if the child's expenses change significantly.
Things to Consider When Hiring an Indiana Child Custody Lawyer
Before hiring an Indiana family law attorney, you should schedule a preliminary meeting, also known as an initial consultation. At this meeting you can learn more about the lawyer's background and briefly tell the lawyer about your situation. Many lawyers offer initial consultations free of charge to potential clients.
Before the meeting, make a list of questions to ask the child custody lawyer. Focus on topics that will help you decide whether to hire the attorney. These might address:
- The lawyer's legal education and experience handling Indiana child custody issues
- The lawyer's style of working with clients and approach to child custody matters
- How much the attorney charges
- How the lawyer would suggest handling the matter
- Who else in the attorney's office might work on your child custody case
Bring the questions and some writing materials to the meeting. You'll want to make notes, which should help you when you are ready to select an attorney.
Find & Hire Indiana Child Custody Attorneys
You've come to the right website if you're ready to hire an Indiana family law lawyer. That's because Attorneys.com has relationships with child custody attorneys across the state, and can quickly connect you with an attorney in your area. To use our service, complete the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222. We'll ask you a few easy questions, then match you with an attorney in your area.