Child Custody

Northwest Indiana Child Custody Lawyers

It goes without saying that the most contentious issue in any Indiana divorce is child custody. However, though it may go without saying, most parents are ill-equipped to deal with the custody battle when the time comes. This is often due to unrealistic expectations, increased tensions, and heightened emotions. At Arshad, Pangere & Warring, LLP, our Merrillville child custody attorneys guide divorcing individuals through the custody process and obtain an outcome that is both fair and in the best interests of the child or children involved. If you do not want to take the chance that the judge will grant custody in your favor, and if you want what is absolutely best for your child, contact our Northwest Indiana law firm today.

Know the Difference Between Physical Versus Legal Custody

It is not uncommon for parents to come to us and say that they want “custody” of their children. However, “custody” does not necessarily mean what most parents think it means.

In the most general sense, custody means having parental responsibility for one’s child. Responsibility, though, can take several different forms. The courts typically categorize custody in one of two ways — physical and legal. Physical custody refers to the child’s living arrangements. Legal custody refers to who has the right to make legal decisions on the child’s behalf.

It is common for the courts to award physical custody to one parent and joint legal custody to both parents.  In this situation, there would be a primary physical custodian of the child and the noncustodial parent would be awarded parenting time.  If joint legal custody is ordered, then the parents would need to jointly make decisions regarding major issues such as medical treatment, religion, and schooling.

Sole, Joint Legal, and Joint Physical Custody

In addition to there being physical and legal custody, there are also three different types of custody which a parent can assume. There is sole custody, which means that the court awards both physical and legal custody to one parent. If a court awards sole custody to one parent, the other parent may be awarded “parenting time”, otherwise known as visitation rights.

Parenting time simply refers to the schedule that the noncustodial parent has in place with the child or children.  Some families simply chose to or are ordered to adhere to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (INPTG) which structures a definitive pattern of parenting time.  Some families chose to use the INPTG as a basis and expand the parenting time from there adding a Sunday overnight, for example, or a midweek overnight.  Families can also make their own parenting time calendars with a parenting schedule that works for their schedules while balancing the children’s desire to spend time with both parents.

The second type of custody courts award is joint legal custody. If the courts award this type of custody, then both parents must discuss and agree on the major decisions concerning the child such as religion, education, and medical issues.

When parents share joint physical custody, it means that the child shares the time between living with both parents.

Factors That May Affect Custody

Indiana, like every other state in the Union, considers a child’s best interests when awarding custody. In determining a child’s best interests, the courts will examine the following factors:

  • The wishes of each parent;
  • The age and sex of the child;
  • The interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, siblings, grandparents, and other persons who significantly affect the child’s wellbeing;
  • The child’s wishes if the child is at least 14 years of age;
  • The home, school, and community in which the child lives;
  • Any patterns of family or domestic violence;
  • The physical and mental health of all individuals involved; and
  • Evidence that a de facto custodian has cared for the child.

If you hope to obtain the majority of legal and physical custody of your child, you will be best served by hiring a Merrillville child custody attorney. To learn more about how the team at Arshad, Pangere & Warring, LLP, can help you, contact our team today by phone at 219-736-6500 or online.

For an aggressive and effective legal team to advocate on your behalf, call the firm at 219-736-6500 or use the convenient online contact form on this site.

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