Figuring out what will happen to your children when you get divorced from their other parent can be incredibly stressful. Parents can be especially worried when they do not know or misunderstand the process of deciding child custody in this state.
Below, we clear up a few common misconceptions that complicate custody cases.
Misconception: Assuming mothers always get custody
There used to be widely held beliefs that a mother should generally have primary custody of children in a divorce. However, much has changed in the way families work and the involvement of parents.
Today, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines state that it is usually in a child’s best interests to have meaningful, frequent contact with both parents. The guidelines also assume that both parents are capable and willing to be nurturing in ways that promote a child’s wellbeing.
In other words, do not make the mistake of assuming mothers always get custody. While there are exceptions, or unless one parent poses a threat to a child’s welfare, both parents will typically share custody.
Misconception: Judges make these decisions
People often imagine a dramatic courtroom case where a judge closes the matter by deciding custody and banging a gavel.
In reality, most parents work out custody matters themselves outside of court, often through mediation. You can expect to work with your attorneys and a mediator to hash out agreements regarding:
- Where a child will live
- Daily schedules
- Holiday schedules
- Decision-making responsibility breakdowns
That said, if you cannot agree, then the case can go to a judge for resolution.
Misconception: Custody plans are templates
Thinking that custody plans involve little more than plugging some information into a template could leave you worried. After all, trying to fit your unique family and situation into the confines of a legal template could seem impossible.
However, there is considerable flexibility in child custody plans, particularly when parents work together to create them. Under these circumstances, you can draft an agreement that reflects the relationship between parents, your child’s wishes and other details of your family.
Don’t let misconceptions create conflict
Clearing up these misconceptions about child custody in Indiana can help you feel more confident as you navigate your case and more capable of making informed decisions.