Sharing children with a spouse is often one of the main reasons people give for staying in an unhappy marriage. Quite a few people worry that divorce may harm their children, while others worry primarily about how a divorce would impact the amount of time they get to spend with their children.
If you have reached a point where you think that filing for divorce is likely your best option, knowing more about the process of getting a divorce in Indiana can help you make better decisions about what you do before you file for divorce, while your divorce is pending and after the courts finalize your divorce.
How do the Indiana courts make custody decisions during a divorce?
Sometimes, parents going through a divorce become very focused on their own best interests or even on punishing their ex. Losing focus on the bigger picture can lead to aggressive and unnecessarily confrontational approaches to child custody.
The Indiana courts do not have a winner-take-all approach to child custody. On the contrary, their primary guiding concern in all custody determinations must be what is in the best interests of the children.
The formal position of the state of Indiana on the issue of custody is that shared custody with fully involved co-parents is typically the ideal outcome for a divorcing couple that shares children. However, there are certain circumstances that may result in the courts deviating from that co-parenting preference.
Reasons why the court may award one parent sole custody
There are some situations in which the courts will decide to give sole custody to one parent. One of the more common reasons is that the other parent agrees with this decision and does not want to seek shared custody.
Still, the courts can choose to deny someone custody even if they request it in specific situations. A parent with a history of abuse directed at their spouse or their children may present a danger to the children that the courts can’t ignore. The same is true of a parent with a history of addiction or someone living in a very unstable situation, such as going a long amount of time without work or steady housing.
Only in a situation where the courts believe one parent’s involvement could pose a risk to the children will they likely order sole custody against the wishes of one parent. Most of the time, divorcing spouses with kids can expect shared custody in their Indiana divorce.