A parent’s divorce can be a difficult point in their life, especially if they have a child. Both parents want to have their fair say in raising their child and they will likely want to spend as much time with their child post-divorce as possible. Indiana law recognizes this and focuses any child custody decisions on the best interests of the child.
Legal custody versus physical custody
Indiana law separates legal custody from physical custody. Legal custody entails the right to make key life decisions on behalf of the child. This includes decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care and what religion the child will participate in. Generally, parents share joint legal custody of the child.
Physical custody determines where the child will live on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes one parent will be awarded sole physical custody and the other parent will have visitation rights. Other times parents will share joint physical custody of the child. The following is an overview of factors the court will consider when determining what child custody decisions to make.
Child custody factors
Indiana courts will consider all relative factors when making custody orders. Primarily, any decisions must be made based on the best interests of the child. Indiana law does not favor either mothers or fathers when making child custody decisions based on sex alone. Some factors that will be considered include:
- How old the child is;
- The child’s gender;
- The parents’ and child’s wishes, especially if the child is age 14 or older;
- The relationship the child has with the parents along with siblings and others who may significantly impact to best interests of the child;
- The child’s adjustment to their home, school and community;
- The parents’ and child’s physical and mental health; and
- Whether domestic violence is a factor.
As stated, the ultimate consideration in any child custody decision is the best interests of the child.
Learn more about child custody in Indiana
Parents in the Evansville area naturally want to make sure they have enough care and control over their child’s life to raise their child in the best way possible. Oftentimes this entails a certain amount of cooperation between parents even if they are divorced. For this reason, it is important for parents to understand all their child custody rights and options so they can make decisions that are in the best interests of their child.