In Indiana, custody is divided into two distinct categories: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody simply means the physical care and supervision of a child. Legal custody, on the other hand, determines who can make major decisions in the child’s life, such as religion, schooling, and medical care. Joint custody refers to a custody arrangement where both parents share legal custody and physical custody of their children.
Under Indiana law, the courts presume that it is in the best interests of the child to have frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce or separation. Joint custody is one way to ensure that both parents have a role in their child's life.
When parents are awarded joint custody, they must work together to make important decisions about their child's upbringing. This may involve communicating regularly, attending meetings and appointments together, and working through disagreements in a respectful and constructive manner.
In some cases, joint custody may not be appropriate. For example, if one parent has a history of domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, or other behavior that could put the child at risk, the court may award sole custody to the other parent.
It's important to note that custody in Indiana can be awarded either solely or jointly, for either physical or legal custody. As you may assume, sole custody means that an individual has total control over the child, whereas joint custody means custody of the child is shared between two individuals. However, just because a parent is awarded joint physical custody does not necessarily mean that the parent will be awarded joint legal custody, or vice versa. Remember there are two components to child custody, and either of these components can be awarded jointly or solely.
In short, joint custody in Indiana refers to a custody arrangement where both parents share legal custody and physical custody of their children. This arrangement is designed to ensure that both parents have a role in their child's life and that important decisions regarding the child's upbringing are made jointly. While joint custody may not be appropriate in every case, it is certainly an option when both parents can work together for the benefit of their child.
Child custody proceedings can be a trying time for individuals. Not to mention, these are very personal and emotional matters for people. If you are in a child custody case, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of an attorney to help navigate through the process. Dixon & Moseley, P.C. attorneys handle all types of child custody cases throughout the State of Indiana and understand the significance of same. This blog post is written by Dixon & Moseley, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.