How is Child Custody Determined in a Divorce?

How is Child Custody Determined in a Divorce?

Judges must decide custody based on “the best interests of the child.” The “best interests of the child” law requires courts to focus on the child’s needs and not the parent’s needs. So how is child custody determined in divorce? The law requires courts to give custody to the parent who can meet the child’s needs best. In divorce, there are a number of factors that determine the child custody decision made by the court in a divorce. A family attorney is there to help in negotiating child custody disputes quickly. Here is how child custody is determined.

Child’s Preference

Child custody refers to two separate parental rights: (1) physical custody and (2) legal custody, which is the right to have legal decisions concerning the welfare and upbringing of your child. It is easiest to think of physical custody as being a parenting time order.

When you have children, you have physical custody. There are certain tax implications when you have physical custody as well. A judge can award you both, only one, or neither. It is rare to find someone who has custody of the child more than 50% of the time, who does not have at least shared/joint legal custody.

Custody Types

Custody can be joint/shared or sole. Together with the other parent, you can try to sit down and fashion a child custody agreement that sets forth who gets what type of custody, when each parent can see the child, and who is responsible for making which decisions.

If you are unable to agree on your own, you can seek assistance through arbitration or mediation. If these options are not available to you, you can file for a determination with the court. The court will then determine what arrangement is in the best interest of your child.

In divorce or in a legal separation, the child’s preference is considered as long as the child(ren) is old enough to understand what the judge is asking and are basing their responses on rational thinking.

Initially, the court will take into account the type of relationship the child has with each parent. The judge will interview the child to gain an understanding of the dynamics that the child has with each individual parent. A qualified social worker might also be given court permission to speak with the child and presenting their findings regarding child custody decisions to the court.

Parental Work Obligations

How much time each parent devotes to their job can also influence who receives physical custody. When the court is aware of how much time a parent spends in the office or traveling for work will give the court an indication of how much time each parent is able to spend in providing their child’s daily needs.

Parental Health

It is no secret that. Raising children takes both mental and physical stamina. The courts will take each parent’s physical health into consideration when deciding custody matters.

While reviewing each party’s medical history, the judge will look for physical disabilities or mental health conditions that could negatively affect the ability to be a full-time parent. A parent with a disability might be granted visitation rights or partial custody instead of sole physical custody.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Indianapolis?

In most instances and in an amicable separation, the divorcing couple can make a request to the court of the custody arrangements after they have been agreed upon through some type of family mediation. If the arrangement appears fair to both parties, the court normally will approve of the divorcing couple’s request. However, the judge does reserve the right to make modifications or may suggest an entirely new child custody plan at any time. For this reason, it is important that each party has a child custody attorney to ensure their parental rights are protected during any court proceeding.