Practice AreasChild Custody/ Paternity/ Father’s Rights

Overview

If you’ve found yourself in a legal issue, our skilled legal team can handle even the most complex issues. Get the advantage for your situation, call us now to better understand your options. Our goal is to counsel you, from start to finish, so you understand the specifics of your situation and help guide you in the right direction. Call us now: 260.426.0545

CHILD CUSTODY RIGHTS

Child custody issues deal with the “best interest” of the child. The Court presumes that both parents are equal in their parenting abilities.  The court must determine in its discretion, what is in the “best interest” of the child taking under consideration the following factors and all other relevant factors:

  1. Age and sex of the child;
  2. The desire of each of the child’s parents;
  3. The wishes of the child. More consideration is given to the wishes of a child fourteen (14) years of age and older;
  4. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with each of the child’s parents, brothers and sisters, and any other people who may significantly affect the child’s best interest (this includes girlfriends and boyfriends);
  5. The adjustment of the child to his or her home, school and community (this includes the child’s friends in the neighborhood, church, etc.);
  6. The mental and physical health of all people involved with the child; and
  7. Any evidence of domestic violence by either parent.

There are two (2) types of custody:

  1. “Sole legal custody” grants one parent total decision making regarding the child’s religion, education and medical (non-emergency) decisions.
  2. “Joint legal custody” means both parents have equal rights to the decisions dealing with the child’s religion, education and medical treatment. In other words, both parents must agree to a change of schools, churches, doctors and whether non-emergency medical and dental treatment can be done.  If the parents cannot agree, the court may have to make the decision.  If that becomes necessary, the court usually destroys the joint custody arrangement and grants only one parent soul legal custody.

At our firm, we will sit down with you and go over the facts of your case and give you an opinion of your chances of getting custody and what you can do to improve your chances of getting custody.

CHILD VISITATION ISSUES

Every parent is entitled to visitation which the court now calls “parenting time”.  Our Supreme Court has instituted the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines as its minimum parenting time order. This can be found at http://www.in.gov\judiciary\rules\parenting.  It basically gives the non-custodial parent alternate weekends, an evening per week, alternate holidays and extended parenting time in the summer.

ENFORCING VISITATION RIGHTS

Some parents have a problem with the other parent interfering with parenting time – being late, not allowing it or constantly calling or planning events on the other parent’s time.  We can help enforce your rights.

We often hear of complaints that one parent tries to dictate to the other parent what their parenting time will be.  You have alternatives to enforce your parenting time.  We may be able to get you a temporary restraining order which would restrain a parent from interfering with your parenting time and/or we can file a contempt of court action against them.  Either of these alternatives may result in the person disobeying a court order to spend time in jail, pay attorney fees and/or giving “make up” parenting time equal to what the parent has lost.  Our job is to help our clients enforce their legally granted parenting time.

MODIFICATION OF VISITATION

Also, just because the court has ordered a specific parenting time schedule as to the amount of days and times, a person can always return to court and request the court modify that order and increase or decrease parenting time if doing so is in the best interest of the child.

PATERNITY OR DIVORCE OR LEGAL SEPERATION

There is a big difference between a divorce (also known as a dissolution of marriage, legal separation) and a paternity action.  A divorce can only be filed when a marriage has occurred.  A divorce terminates the marriage. A legal separation can only be filed by a married person, but only lasts for one (1) year before it must terminate by law and the parties remain married. Its purpose is just to separate the two (2) spouses temporarily and to temporarily determine custody, support, parenting time, possession of a marital home and automobiles and determine the responsibility for debts of the parties.  A paternity is when a couple has a child when they are not married (out of wedlock).  The purpose of a paternity action is to establish who the parents are, custody, parenting time and child support.

FATHER’S CHILD CUSTODY RIGHTS

Many fathers believe they have minimum rights to their children.  Sometimes fathers perceive a bias in the legal system against giving Fathers custody of their children.  This perception is not found to be true.  It is the attorney’s job to present all relevant facts at trial to the judge.  These cases are complicated by the fact that in many homes the father works and the mother raises the children. More mothers’ are now in the workforce.  In some families, not only does the mother work, but she also does the child raising, meal preparation, house cleaning, laundry, etc. We advise all fathers’ to “step up to the plate” and get equally involved with all aspects of child care and child raising.  This includes doing house cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, taking children to doctors appointments and extra-curricular activities, giving bathes, putting kids to bed and playing and talking with their children.  More fathers are doing these things than ever before and as a result more fathers are now getting custody of their children.

Call us today!

(260) 426-0545

What to bring to your first appointment

  1. Copy of Provisional Financial Declaration

Forms to fill out for your first appointment

  1. Confidential Questionnaire

Additional Resources

  1. Indiana Child Support Calculator
  2. Family Connections