In Indiana, the two categories for child custody are legal and physical custody. Legal custody is decision-making rights regarding the child’s upbringing, such as their education, healthcare and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to the child’s permanent residence.
Please continue reading to learn more about both types of custody and their subcategories. Remember that a court always works to target the child’s best interests.
1. Legal custody
Both parents have an equal say in the child’s upbringing if the court awards joint legal custody. This is the most common type of legal custody in Indiana, as courts usually try to give both parents a say in the child’s upbringing. According to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, custody arrangements start with the assumption that a child should have consistent contact with both parents. However, the court can award sole legal custody to one parent depending on the child’s best interest.
2. Physical custody
Joint physical custody is when the child lives with both parents. This can be an equal split or a more flexible arrangement where the child spends more time with one parent during specific periods, such as the school year.
Sole physical custody is when one parent has the child live at their residence. The other parent may have visitation rights depending on the court’s decision. Courts award this in cases where one parent is unfit to have physical custody or if the court believes that joint physical custody would not be in the child’s best interest.
Ultimately, the court’s primary concern in any custody case is the child’s best interest. Courts can consider all types of custody based on the child’s needs, the parent’s ability to provide for those needs and the child’s relationship with each parent.