50/50 Custody in Indiana:
What Does It Mean For Parental Rights?
Child custody that splits parenting time more or less equally is also known as joint custody or shared physical custody. While society increasingly views roughly equal parenting time as the best way to protect the parental rights of both parents, Indiana courts must still use the best interests of the child statutory standard to determine the appropriate parenting time schedule. For parents who are able to jointly co-parent their children and who are able to get along well with each other, a 50/50 custody arrangement could be a good option for custody in Indiana. This type of schedule influences child support calculations as well. Part of the job of an Indiana divorce attorney is to help a parent negotiate a workable custody schedule and determine what child support will be.
When you speak with an Indiana family lawyer, you’ll learn about physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody describes the parent who provides a child’s primary home and/or what is the parenting time schedule of the child. Legal custody grants a parent decision-making authority over a child regarding health, education, and upbringing. You could have legal custody without having physical custody. With 50/50 custody, both parents could have legal and physical custody.
Law Does Not Presume One Parent Is Better Than The Other
For decades, mothers have been perceived as receiving more custody privileges. Although traditional views may have favored mothers, Indiana family law does not favor mothers over fathers. In most cases Courts will encourage joint custody, as the Court views that it is in the best interests of children to have both parents make these important decisions.
As a result, divorce lawyers in Indiana are available to defend the parental rights of people regardless of gender. In fact, if you feel that your gender has negatively influenced a custody decision, you should consult an Indiana family lawyer to review your matter.
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Shared Child Custody Schedule Options
When parties can come to their own agreement about a parenting time schedule it most often benefits the children. There are numerous variations of an equal split of parenting time. An Indiana family lawyer can discuss what the usual options are and recommend a parenting time schedule that works for your family situation. For various reasons, such as work or school schedules, people might not be able to have an even split of time. Parents might decide to share custody on a 60/40 or 70/30 schedule. This approach still allows children to have consistent quality time with each parent while giving the family the flexibility that it needs.
What Could Prevent A Parent From Getting Joint Custody?
Although family courts want to promote joint custody, judges make decisions based on the child’s best interests. When taking a custody dispute before a judge, one or both parents can hire divorce or paternity lawyers in Indiana. An Indiana divorce attorney will present evidence that illustrates how your proposal would satisfy the child’s best interests.
Figuring out what is best for a child can be a complex problem. A judge will weigh many variables, such as:
- History of abuse or neglect
- Parental wishes
- Wishes of children over age 14
- Age of children
- Sex of children
- A child’s health issues
- A parent’s health issues
- Ability to provide a safe home
- Closeness of child’s relationship with a parent
Family courts strive to make child custody decisions that minimize disruption in a child’s life while maintaining ties to parents and the community. Some of the issues that could influence a custody order are open to interpretation. Suppose opposition from the other parent is threatening your parental rights. In that case, the services of an Indiana divorce lawyer may prepare you to make your best case for winning your fair share of custody.
At times, disputes and co-parent hostility are not the reasons behind one parent becoming the custodial parent. A 50/50 custody schedule may not be workable for one parent due to travel commitments for work, living far away, military deployment, or an inability to provide housing suitable for children.
How Does 50/50 Custody Affect Child Support?
Whether or not you pay child support with a 50/50 custody arrangement depends on Indiana’s child support guidelines. The formula for calculating support looks at the gross income of both parents. After that, parents receive credits for their child-related expenses, such as:
- Work-related child care
- Health insurance
- Support orders for other children
In addition to these financial issues, your overnights with children apply another credit to the child support formula. You get credit for each overnight that your children are in your home. For this reason, an equal number of overnights between parents could conceivably result in no one owing the other child support. This typically only happens when parents have similar incomes. A parent who makes considerably more money will likely still pay child support to the other household. There are few situations in which a child support order of zero will be entered by a Court.
Child Custody Modification
Circumstances in the life of a parent or child can change over time. This could make a child custody modification a reasonable request. Even if your divorce is far in the past, an Indiana divorce attorney can still help you with changing child custody. If you and the co-parent agree about altering the schedule, requesting a new custody order could be relatively routine. Should the other parent resist your proposal, you and your lawyer will need to explain how the change is reasonable and still meets the best interests of your children or even what substantial and continuing change has occurred to warrant the change (depending on what the requests are).
Talk To An Indiana Family Lawyer
Your parental rights are some of the most important legal rights you have, but protecting them is not always a simple matter. At Webster & Garino LLC you can expect us to defend your right to have a meaningful relationship with your children, whether you were married or unmarried. For compassionate and personalized legal services, call 317-565-1818 or email us today.