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Child custody: Know your rights before the divorce

Child custody in an Indiana divorce follows the Uniform Child Custody Act. When you are facing a divorce, this helps give you, your spouse and the judge some structure when determining child custody issues.

The overall term “custody” refers to where the child lives, who has primary physical custody and the parenting schedule that comes out of this decision, and who has legal custody and gets to make decisions about the child’s health and welfare.

A raft of other issues

But custody isn’t limited to only those issues. There are plenty of others:

  • Child disposition between unmarried parents
  • Establishment of paternity
  • Grandparents rights
  • Custody evaluations
  • Third-party evaluations
  • International custody
  • Relocation both in and out of state

A childs best interests

If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on child custody, a custody hearing with a judge will determine an arrangement based on the child’s best interests. The courts will weigh all factors affecting the child, with the most weight given to the child’s safety and well-being. Other factors include:

  • Child’s relationship with other siblings
  • Consistency and continuity in education
  • Consistency and continuity in community
  • Consistency and continuity in family life
  • Which parent can maintain daily emotional, physical and special needs Which parent can maintain a stable, loving, consistent relationship

Parent’s physical or emotional abuse, parent’s history of drug or alcohol charges, parent’s criminal charges or convictions are also considered.

At age 14 or older, the child’s wishes can be considered as well.

Child custody modification

Sometimes it’s necessary to modify child custody as circumstances change. Examples of changing circumstances include job change or relocation, child abuse or concerns about safety, changes in developmental needs, a child’s wish to spend more or less time with one parent, or a violation of the custody order.

If the parents can’t work out their differences, a contract with the new custody or visitation order can be signed by a judge.

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