Custody, Parenting Time & Child Support

Overview

Any family law case that involves children calls for the utmost consideration and balanced decision-making. Emotions can run very high in divorce cases, paternity matters and when problems arise after divorce. The human stakes could not be higher. It is essential to understand applicable Indiana laws, set clear goals and identify the path to a resolution that will best support your children’s stability and well-being. Whether through direct settlement negotiations, courtroom hearings or family law mediation, we consistently target sustainable solutions in children’s best interests.

Child Support is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a parent for the benefit of a child following the end of a marriage or other relationship. Payments are paid directly or indirectly by an obligor for the care and support of a child. From time to time a modification may be needed in a child support matter. Our staff at Trenna S. Parker Law Office help both custody and non-custodial parenting with their child support matters. 

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Child custody: There are different types of child custody. Legal custody refers to the legal authority to make major decisions on behalf of your child. Examples of major decisions include where your child will go to school, what type of religious upbringing he or she will have (if any), and non-emergency medical decisions. Legal custody options include “Sole Legal Custody” and “Joint Legal Custody”. A parent who has sole legal custody is the only person who has the legal authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child. These include decisions regarding education, religion, and healthcare. Parents who share joint legal custody have the legal authority to make major decisions together for the child. It should be noted that parents can potentially share “joint legal custody” without having “joint physical custody.” 

Physical custody refers to where the children live the majority of the time. This is sometimes referred to as “residential custody.” Types of physical custody include “sole physical custody”, “primary physical custody” and “joint physical custody”. 

  • Sole physical custody is where the child physically resides at one location all the time. This is a relatively rare situation.
  • Primary physical custody is where the child physically resides at one location most of the time, and the non-custodial parent is granted generous visitation rights, including overnights. This is by far the most common arrangement although not
  • Joint Physical Custody also called “shared custody,” “shared parenting,” or “dual residence.” In this situation, the children live with one parent for part of the week (or part of the year) and live with the other parent during the remaining time. The division of time spent at each location is approximately equal.  

Parenting Time (sometimes called “Visitation”) allows parents who do not have physical custody (“non-custodial parent”) to see their children on a regular basis.  Indiana utilizes the Indiana Parenting Guidelines as a minimum recommended parenting time for the child to see the non-custodial parent.  Parents should familiarize themselves with the Guidelines so they can have informed opinion as to whether those minimum recommendations are in the best interest of their children. 

In rare circumstances, a non-custodial parent will receive less than the minimum recommended parenting time.  These circumstances require a finding that the child’s physical or emotional well-being would be seriously endangered by regular parenting time with the non-custodial parent.  In these situations, a third party supervisor is present to ensure the safety and well-being of the child during parenting time.


THE
CHILD’S BEST INTEREST

In Indiana, the primary focus of any decision regarding children is what is in the Child’s Best Interest.  Although it can sometimes be difficult to articulate, the standard includes a number of factors that a Judge would take into consideration when making a decision including, age and sex of the child, wishes of the parents, wishes of the child especially those 14 and over, interaction of the child with the parents and siblings, the child’s adjustment to home, school and community, mental and physical health of the parties and whether there is a history or pattern of domestic violence.

Whether the children’s interests are in front of the court because of Paternity, Divorce, or Modification, the best interest’s standard prevails, and litigants need to be aware of what the Court can consider in rendering a decision. 

Why Choose Us

By maintaining a balanced view of how best to support our clients and set up long-term co-parenting roles after litigation, the attorneys at Trenna S. Parker Law Office P.C. will help you get effective results by examining the children’s needs, parents’ schedules and other issues that should be factored into any agreement involving children.