Child Custody (Parenting Plans)
Custody in Indiana is referred to as a “parenting plan,” and the current law presumes that each parent will share equally in the decision making process when it comes to the upbringing and best interests of the children involved.
Creating a parenting plan with your soon-to-be ex-spouse is one of the most emotional parts of dissolving your marriage. Consulting with an attorney, as well as with individuals in the helping professions, such as therapists, can help you stay focused on the needs of your children within the structure of the law.
“Best Interest of The Child” And Parenting Plans
Every case involving children centers on a “best interest of the child” standard. Understand, however, that this standard can be interpreted very subjectively, depending on your perspective. In fact, disagreements about parenting are often significant contributors to the decision to divorce.
However, reaching a mutual agreement is generally best for all involved. If you and your spouse are unable to agree to the terms of a parenting plan, you will (literally) be at the mercy of the court. A judge who knows nothing about you and your family will make decisions for you, and you may end up with a result that neither of you is happy with. The standard parenting plan as outlined in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines allows for the noncustodial parent to only have parenting time every other weekend and one night a week until no later than 9:00pm. (See Guardian ad Litem, below.)
Be aware: It is only in rare cases that the court will find that a parent should not have parenting time with their children. These rulings are given only when there is clear evidence the parent’s involvement would be detrimental to the child, as in matters of safety. This is a tough standard to meet, but depending on the circumstances the court has many tools to ensure the safety of any children involved in a divorce case.