When parents in Indiana cannot agree upon the terms of child custody, then an Indiana divorce court will decide the issue. Child custody lawyers in Indiana support people who need to go before a Judge and communicate their parental goals. Before issuing a child custody order, a Judge weighs multiple factors. 

 

 The Best Interests of the Child

 Like most states, Indiana family law emphasizes the best interests of the child. Factors relevant to measuring a child’s best interests include age and sex, the desires of the parents, and sometimes what the child wants. The Court may take into consideration the wishes of children who are at least 14 years of age. 

 If there are allegations of domestic violence, abuse, use of drugs and alcohol by a parent that affects the emotional and physical wellbeing of the child, the Court may appoint a guardian ad litem to serve as the child’s advocate during the Indiana divorce proceeding.  This guardian ad litem investigates the family and provides an independent opinion regarding custody based on the best interests of the child. The representation of a Carmel Indiana attorney from Webster & Garino will protect your rights during this process. 

 Relationship Factors

 The relationships that a child has with parents, siblings, or other people in the home and community can influence a child custody decision. A Judge will consider whether or not moving a child to a new location or keeping a child in a familiar home and school is in the best interest of the child. 

 The bonds between a child and each parent or other primary caregivers can play a role in a Judge’s decision. A child cared for by a de facto custodian other than the parents will have difficulty adjusting to life with one or both biological parents if a relationship with them has been lacking. Additionally, both the physical and mental health of the parents can enter the equation due to their potential impact on parenting abilities and resources. 

 

 Parental Cooperation

 A Judge leaning toward a joint custody order will want to see that the parents are willing to cooperate. A cooperative attitude can indicate that they both are fit to share custody of a child. The proximity of the parents will matter, as well. Two parents living far away from each other will make a joint custody order impractical. Indiana law allows judges to order either sole or joint custody, depending on the circumstances. 

 A consultation with a Carmel Indiana attorney will help you understand your position when dealing with a contested child custody case. Contact Webster & Garino for personalized advice during a critical period for your family.