New Albany Child Custody Lawyer
If you’re involved in a child custody dispute, having the right New Albany child custody lawyer on your side is essential. You want to continue seeing and raising your child, because, after all, is there anything more important in your life than your child?
The child custody lawyers at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law can protect your rights and work to make sure the best interests of your child are served. Custody disputes are invariably difficult for families to endure. But a child custody lawyer knows that children can benefit the most when parents stay involved in their lives.
Our legal team will work to protect your rights, serve the best interests of your child, and help pursue favorable custody outcomes that benefit all family members.
WHAT DO INDIANA CHILD CUSTODY RIGHTS ENTAIL?
Child Custody Involves a Parent’s Right to Make Decisions Concerning His or Her Child
- Legal custody involves the ability to make important, long-term decisions about a child, including those regarding education and health care.
- Physical custody covers the ability to make practical, daily decisions for a child when living with a parent.
- Parents share custody in many cases, although one parent will probably be considered the custodial parent—which means most of the child’s time will be spent with that parent—while the other parent is considered a noncustodial parent.
Child custody disputes are often part of the divorce process and remain unsettled even after a divorce has been finalized. Custody disputes can also involve parents who never married.
It’s recommended that a parent be flexible and cooperative with the other parent because, generally, the law favors child custody arrangements that involve both parents. Joint custody is common but is not always granted. If there are serious concerns about a parent’s ability to raise a child, the other parent may be granted full custody, with the noncustodial parent receiving only the right to visit the child.
HOW CAN A CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER HELP WITH CUSTODY DECISIONS?
Courts ultimately decide child custody issues based on a judge’s decisions over a child’s best interests. A child custody attorney can help with shaping and presenting your arguments for custody to a court, among other critical functions.
Most custody disputes are decided after parents reach an agreement. If they can’t agree, it will be up to a judge to decide the issue. Hearings to decide custody arrangements can involve testimony from parents, family members, and expert witnesses such as child psychologists. Litigating child custody disputes can be highly emotional, time consuming, and expensive; therefore, such disputes are most often resolved by agreements.
Custody Agreements and Orders Often Include These Elements:
- Set schedules as to how much time or how many days of the week each parent has with the child
- Determinations as to which holidays will be spent with which parent and with whom summers or school vacations will be spent
- Decisions about education, extracurricular activities, and transportation
- A mechanism by which parents can try to work out future disagreements.
HOW DO COURTS DECIDE BETWEEN SOLE OR JOINT CUSTODY?
As is always the case, judges look out for a child’s best interests. Judges will award joint legal custody only if it’s in a child’s best interests. Parents who want joint custody must demonstrate their suitability as parents and must show that they can cooperate with each other. When deciding to award legal custody, a court will look at several legal factors, such as:
- A child’s relationship with each parent and whether the child has a close and beneficial relationship with both parents
- Parents’ communication and their willingness to cooperate concerning their child
- A child’s wishes, which receive increasing weight for children 14 and older
- Parents’ locations and how far apart they live
- The nature and condition of parents’ homes and the environment in which children will live.
Even if a court awards joint legal custody to parents, they might not be awarded joint physical custody. While many custody awards grant shared legal custody, some provide sole physical custody to one parent only. Such outcomes depend on your case and your child’s best interests.
WHAT DETERMINES WHO’S GRANTED CHILD CUSTODY?
A court’s decision as to who the child’s custodial parent will be is taken very seriously. A custodial parent will be responsible for and take care of a child the majority of the time, which underscores the importance of a court’s decision.
If joint physical custody is not possible, a court and child custody lawyer can look into other custody options, such as one parent’s being granted physical custody while the other receives visitation rights.
Before granting custody, a judge will evaluate each parent’s ability to be a provider and caretaker for a child when making custody decisions. Beyond considering a parent’s attitude and history when granting custody, a judge will also consider a parent’s:
- Ability to financially provide for a child
- Willingness to invest in a child’s educational needs
- Willingness to invest in a child’s health and medical needs
- Ability to maintain a child’s well-being
- Willingness to follow a custody agreement
- Willingness to cooperate with the other parent concerning their child.
CHILD CUSTODY FAQ
When can my child decide which parent to live with?
The court will make a custody determination for your child until your child turns 18. More consideration is given to the wishes of the children if they are over the age of 14.
When will child custody be decided?
Permanent custody arrangements will be decided after a court makes a ruling or an agreement between parents is reached. Temporary custody may be decided as soon as a separation begins. Contacting a child custody attorney in New Albany early in the separation and divorce process is recommended.
When can I modify custody?
After custody and visitation have been decided, a parent needs to demonstrate significant change in circumstances in order to have the arrangement revised. If a child is in danger, modification can be more easily obtained.
How can I increase my chances at getting a better custody agreement?
A parent who is deeply involved in a child’s life and has a strong relationship with a child might more clearly convey this connection to a court, resulting in better a custody outcome. Being flexible, open, and cooperative when it comes to your child’s relationship with the other parent will be viewed positively by a judge.
What can decrease my chances of a favorable custody outcome?
Trying to play your child against the other parent, saying negative things about the other parent to your child, or manipulating your child as a pawn in the dispute (known as parental alienation) will not help your custody case. Such actions are sure ways to lose a judge’s favor and will likely affect a custody order. If you feel anger or bitterness toward the other parent, don’t vent around your child or let your feelings negatively affect your child’s relationship with another parent.
If both parents share custody, does anyone pay child support?
In cases of shared custody, child-support payments are determined based on each parent’s income and the costs of a child’s daycare, health care, and other expenses. The amount of time a child spends with each parent can also be a factor. If parents share custody and have similar incomes, they may be able to avoid child support altogether.
Can a parent refuse to allow visitation if child support is not paid?
Parenting and visitation time cannot be refused because of missed child support payments. A court order can be filed for nonpayment, prompting a parent to pay.
HOW DOES A CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY IN NEW ALBANY RESOLVE CUSTODY DISPUTES?
When disputes arise between parents, neither parent has more rights than the other. The rights that should always be considered first and foremost are those of the child.
In determining custody, courts and attorneys often refer to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. These guidelines act as an official source created by the Indiana Supreme Court and are updated periodically to reflect societal changes in parenting norms.
CAN A CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY MODIFY CUSTODY RIGHTS?
A custody agreement, when approved by a judge, becomes part of a court order. If a parenting situation substantially changes, a custody order can be modified if the changes affect the child. While a child custody attorney in New Albany can help prompt a change to custody rights, the decision will be up to a judge. Scenarios and situations that could lead to a change to custody rights include:
- A parent’s moving far away from the other parent and wanting to take the child with them
- A parent’s experiencing serious physical or psychiatric issues
- A parent’s being convicted of a crime
- A parent’s suffering from substance abuse
- A parent whose behavior or actions affects their relationship with and ability to raise a child.
As with the original custody order, if changes can’t be negotiated between parents, it’s up to a judge to decide whether to maintain the original order or to make changes. Once again, decisions will be based on the child’s best interests.
CHURCH, LANGDON, LOPP, BANET LAW: CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS YOU CAN TRUST
Whether you are divorcing, ending a relationship with the child’s other parent, or wanting to enforce or modify a current custody order, you need a child custody attorney to help navigate the legal system.
Our child custody lawyers work in that system every day and are ready to help you and your child. We proudly serve communities throughout Kentucky and Indiana, including, but not limited to, Jefferson County, KY; Floyd County, IN; Clark County, IN; and Harrison County, IN.