Custody and Support FAQs

What does "custody" include?

Indiana law provides for two aspects of child custody: legal custody and physical custody.  Legal custody determines which parent is charged with making the important decisions in a child's life -- education, medical care, religious training.  Physical custody determines where a child lives primarily.  Both legal custody and physical custody can be joint (shared by both parents) or rest solely with one parent.  If one parent has sole physical custody of a child the other parent will be entitled to parenting time.

How are custody decisions made?

Custody decision are to be made in the best interests of the children.  Parents can decide what arrangements are best for their children and submit an agreement to the court for review and approval.  If parents cannot agree, the court will hold a hearing and, based on the evidence presented, will decide what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the children.

If my spouse has custody, how much time will I get to spend with my children?

In cases where parents cannot agree on a parenting time schedule for the non-custodial parent, Indiana has adopted standardized Parenting Time Guidelines which establish presumed parenting time, including holidays and vacations.  Where appropriate courts have discretion to deviate from the Guidelines to provide a parent with more, or less, time. 

How is child support calculated?

Child support is determined by applying the  Indiana Child Support Guidelines.  Using a variety of factors including the parents' incomes, cost of child care and cost of health insurance, the Guidelines set the presumptive child support amount.  As with parenting time, courts do have the discretion to deviate from the Guidelines in appropriate circumstances.  Often the most challenging aspect of calculating child support is determining parental income, especially in cases of self-employed parents or parents who earn income from non-traditional sources (trusts, investments, regular gifts and similar sources).  Experienced counsel can help identify all sources of income to be considered in establishing child support. [LINK to Supreme Court child support calculator]

Do I have to be a parent to get custody or visitation?

Indiana law allows non-parent, third parties to obtain custody of or visitation with children in limited circumstances.  The standards and legal burdens are much different and more difficult for non-parents and there is a strong presumption that parents and not third parties should have custody of their children.  Lemieux Law is experienced in representing clients in third party custody and visitation cases and can help you determine the best approach in your unique circumstances.

Contact Lemieux Law for more information on full service family law representation or to schedule an appointment.