If you are getting divorced, you and your ex will have to come up with a custody arrangement that works best for your child. If you are unable to agree, the courts of Indiana will get involved and make the decision.
Generally, the two types of custody in Indiana are legal and physical custody.
- Legal custody: If a parent has legal custody of the child, the parent is legally allowed to make major decisions that impact the child’s life. Some of these decisions may involve the child’s education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, and health.
- Physical custody/parenting time: Physical custody, now generally referred to as parenting time, refers to the time the parent spends with the child. When the child is staying at a parent’s home, that parent is generally responsible for caring for the child.
Sole v. joint custody
A parent may have sole physical and/or legal custody or share physical and/or custody with the other parent (joint custody).
For example, if parents have joint legal custody of the child, they both will have to work together to make decisions on what is best for the child, as they both have a legal say in these decisions.
Joint physical custody or shared custody, both parents will be given parenting time with the child. There are several possible arrangements for shared custody. For example, parents may decide to alternate weeks, where the child lives in one parent’s house for one week and the other parent’s house the next week. However, keep in mind that it is not easy for a child to go back and forth between houses, particularly during the school year.
Courts will determine custodial arrangements based on the best interests of the child. A family law expert in Indiana can help you come up with a custody arrangement that suits your family and best fits your child’s needs.