Working Through The Issues Of Custody, Co-Parenting And Support
Anything that involves your kids brings out your protective instincts. The other parent and the court also want to protect the children. That’s what makes child custody so complex and emotional. You all have a different vision of what is in the child’s best interests.
I am NiCale Rector, a family law attorney with 20 years of experience advocating for parents and problem-solving their custody disputes. Through negotiation, mediation or the courtroom, you can depend on me compassionate support, sound advice and strong representation.
Understanding Indiana Custody Law
Legal custody refers to decision-making authority. Typically the court awards joint legal custody, meaning both parents have a say in the child’s education, healthcare and religious upbringing.
Physical custody refers to day-to-day care of the child and where the child primarily lives. The courts typically award some form of shared custody, though not necessarily 50-50.
It is rare for the courts to award sole custody to one parent unless the other parent is unfit because of abuse or addiction. So you have two choices: come to agreement on co-parenting arrangements or let the court decide. I urge clients to find that middle ground rather leaving these important matters up to a judge. But I have litigated custody disputes and will fight for you if an amicable resolution is not possible.
The Indiana parenting time guidelines offer one model for custody and parenting time — the noncustodial parent gets every other weekend, half of the summer and half of the major holidays. That is only the minimum starting point. You may decide that more equal time is best for your children. The best thing you can do is foster cooperation and communication. The harder you try to alienate your child from the other parent, the harder they will push back.
The amount of child support is based on a formula that includes the parents’ incomes, the number of children and the percentage of parenting time. Sometimes there may be reason to deviate from the child support guidelines, or to later modify child support if there has been a material change in circumstances
Advocating For Your Rights And Your Child’s Welfare
I am familiar with the judges of Madison County and how they would likely rule in a contested custody case. In or out of court, you can count on me for strategy, compassion and support as we work through these issues.