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What are the basic rules about child custody in Indiana?

Spouses share almost everything. Few of your mutual interests or assets are as important as the children you have together. Custody disputes can turn a divorce from a simple judicial process into a messy, all-out battle.

Unrealistic expectations about the custody process can easily lead to couples becoming unnecessarily contentious about their custody negotiations. Learning about how Indiana handles custody disputes will help you set realistic goals for your divorce.

Parents have legal obligations to the children

Kids come with a long list of needs. They require shelter, food, emotional support, socialization and education. As a parent, it is your responsibility to provide that to your kids.

Recognizing your responsibility to your children and thinking about how you and your ex can best support them during a divorce and afterward as co-parents is essential. You each will need to make financial contributions to the lives of the children, which may come in the form of child support. Both parents also usually need to spend time parenting.

The courts divide physical and legal custody

Parenting time is often the focal point in custody proceedings. Your responsibility to be physically present occurs during your physical custody time. When your ex has physical custody, you aren’t the one who has to pick them up from school when they don’t feel well.

Legal custody is something too many couples ignore or overlook. It involves decision-making authority about everything from medical care to religion. You may have to share parenting time and defer to your ex about major decisions regarding your children after a divorce if you don’t ask for decision-making authority as well as parenting time.

Sole custody is only an option in specific situations

Some people spend a lot of time and mental effort trying to eliminate their ex from their family after divorce. Despite people often wanting them, sole custody arrangements aren’t common.

They are frequently only an option if one parent doesn’t seek custody rights. If both parents want their custody, then sole custody will likely only be an option in cases where one spouse can show a history of abuse, neglect or health issues that might endanger the children in the care of the other parent.

Understanding the basics of child custody in Indiana can help you develop realistic expectations for life after divorce.