When a family experiences divorce, the process will include many important – and, indeed, life-changing – decisions. Some of these decisions can often be made amicably between the divorcing spouses; others must be made by a judge. But no decision is more important than that of child custody.
In a best-case scenario, the divorcing parents will agree on a custody arrangement that best serves the needs of the child above all other considerations – and can begin operating under that arrangement while separated and awaiting the final divorce decree. When custody details are in dispute, however, the court will ultimately have the final say, with the judge again acting in the child’s best interests.
Because divorce proceedings can be complex and time-consuming, often drawn out for many months, a workable custody arrangement should be put in place as soon as possible. This is where a “temporary custody order” first comes into play.
What Do Temporary Custody Orders Do?
In Indiana, there are several types of child custody, including legal and physical, joint, primary, and sole custody (also known as full custody). In the same way that a final child custody order will define and decree the longer-term legal child custody arrangements, a temporary custody order will also mandate the type of custody while the divorce case is pending or in process. Such a temporary order will include a visitation or parenting time schedule.
Because custody disputes can be stressful and acrimonious, court-ordered temporary custody can define expectations and responsibilities, and thus, help protect a compliant parent if the other parent fails to follow the terms of the order. A temporary child custody order can also be useful in deterring unlawful relocation of the child.
When Are Temporary Custody Orders Needed?
When parents can agree on temporary custody arrangements in advance of receiving a final child custody order, they should notify the court in writing of the agreed-upon terms. Of course, the court will have to accept the request and place the temporary custody order in effect.
A temporary custody order can be important in several types of situations even after final custody has been awarded. For example, if the custodial parent cannot fulfill his or her responsibilities caring for the child – perhaps due to illness, work obligations, military deployment, or other unexpected circumstances – either parent can file for a temporary child custody order until the terms of the final custody agreement can again be met. A temporary order might also be appropriate to protect the health or safety of the child, or to keep the child from being illegally relocated. This can take the form of an emergency custody order which can help expedite the normal process for child custody modification.
When a custodial parent is temporarily unable to care for the child under the terms of the final custody order and voluntarily requests a change in the custody arrangement, that parent should specify the duration of the requested modification. The temporary custody order filing should also spell out any other requested deviations from the final court order.
When divorce and child custody cases are drawn out over an extended period, either or both parents can file for a temporary custody order. The judge will review the filing and issue a temporary ruling in the child’s best interests. Here are some important factors when considering a temporary child custody order:
- In a best-case scenario, the divorcing parents will agree on a custody arrangement that best serves the needs of the child and operate under that arrangement while awaiting a court ruling on custody
- A temporary custody order mandates the type of custody in effect while the divorce is pending
- The temporary order will include a visitation or parenting time schedule; and can be useful in deterring unlawful relocation of the child
- A temporary custody order can be important even after final custody has been awarded when the final custody order cannot be complied with for a limited time
- An emergency child custody modification can be sought to protect the health or safety of the child, or to keep the child from being illegally relocated
At Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., our Indiana child custody lawyers serve clients by leveraging decades of collective experience in divorce and family law. To learn more about how to seek a temporary custody order or child custody modification, contact us today at 317-972-8000.
This blog post provides general educational material regarding child custody modification and how to obtain a temporary child custody order. Being an educated legal consumer can help you make the most of the legal experience in meeting your legal objectives. This information is presented by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who practice throughout the State Indiana. It is not a solicitation, nor is it intended to provide specific legal advice. Information contained herein is subject to change. This is an advertisement