Family law concerns involving children are often the most difficult to navigate. It is important that the children’s best interests are prioritized at every stage. However, the difficult emotions involved in these cases can sometimes make it difficult for everyone to agree on what that means.
It is important that child custody matters are guided by an experienced family law attorney. An attorney will help ensure that children are protected and that a fair outcome is reached. They will also work to minimize conflict by prioritizing mediation wherever possible.
At Woodford Sathappan McGee, our law firm is dedicated to the needs of women. We only represent women, which we believe gives us a unique ability to meet their needs, as well as the needs of their children. We know how scary the prospect of life as a single person can be, and our goal is for you to feel confident about your future.
Court-issued child custody arrangements, such as those in a divorce decree, are legally binding. Therefore it is important that you are supported through the process and that the outcome serves the interests of you and your children.
We offer a free consultation, so speak to one of our Indianapolis child custody attorneys today at 380-212-3731.
Woodford Sathappan McGee is comprised of an experienced team of attorneys who came together over a shared desire to help women navigate divorce and family law so that they can move on to the next stages of their lives in confidence.
It is common for women to be thought of to be wives and mothers, but they are so much more than that. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we believe in empowering women with knowledge of their rights so that they can make decisions from a place of clarity. We will guide you through every negotiation and lend a sympathetic ear when you need it.
That being said, we are also skilled litigators and will not refrain from fighting for your rights in front of a judge if necessary. From start to finish, whatever the circumstances of your case, we will be your advocates.
The laws and legal language surrounding child custody differ between states. In Indiana, there are two types of custody, legal custody, and physical custody.
Physical child custody refers to where the child physically resides and involves key issues such as the child’s primary residence and who has responsibility for the child’s day-to-day care. Depending on the circumstances, parents could share physical custody equally, or it could make more sense for one parent to have primary physical custody. If one parent is granted primary physical custody, then the other will likely have visitation rights unless there is a reason why one parent poses a risk to a child’s wellbeing.
Legal custody is used to describe the right to make important decisions on a child’s behalf. Important decisions could include where the child attends school, whether or not they attend church and the medical care they receive. Once again, legal custody can be shared, or one parent may be granted sole legal custody.
Although child custody decisions are usually made using mediation with the help of a child custody lawyer, all decisions must be approved by the Judge, who will determine whether the decision is in the child’s best interests.
Joint custody can take many forms, parents could share physical and legal custody, or they could share one and not the other. For example, a Judge could grant joint legal custody so that both parents retain the right to make decisions on their child’s behalf, but they could also grant sole physical custody where the child lives with one parent for the majority of the time.
Most child custody cases in Indiana will result in some form of joint custody agreement. This is because it is usually believed that it is in the child’s best interest for both parents to remain a significant part of their lives. The only exception is if one parent poses a risk to the child’s wellbeing, but even then, they may be awarded supervised visitation.
However, it is also common for one parent to be the custodial parent, meaning the child’s primary residence is with them. The other parent, known as the non-custodial parent, will also be awarded visitation rights. A typical visitation schedule could mean that the child lives with the non-custodial parent one weekday evening every week and every other weekend.
Although the court believes that both parents should remain in the child’s life, they also want to create stability for the child. Often it makes more logistical sense for the child to be cared for by one parent for the majority of the time.
Parental rights include the right to have regular parenting time with your child. This means that if one parent becomes the custodial parent, the other is still entitled to a reasonable amount of time with their child, and it is up to the custodial parent to facilitate that.
However, there are cases where one parent has their parental rights taken away from them by a Judge. The Judge will only do this if they believe that it is in the child’s best interest. It usually only happens when there is evidence that suggests that parenting time would endanger the child either mentally or physically.
Even in cases where one parent has issues such as addiction or anger, the court could still find a way to facilitate visitation, such as making it supervised. Supervised visitation could be supervised by a trusted third party such as a grandparent, a private agency, juvenile court staff, or a social service agency. Often, supervised visitation must take place at a secure, neutral location.
It is important that the needs of the child are prioritized when making custody decisions, which usually equates to a shared custody arrangement. However, if you are concerned about the impact the other parent could have on your child, then you will need to provide substantial evidence for your claims. An Indianapolis child custody attorney can help you keep your children safe by fighting for sole custody.
The Judge has the final say in all child custody decisions. Even if parents come to their own child custody agreement with the help of an attorney (which they are expected to try and do), the Judge will still need to approve it.
Parents have equal rights under the law, regardless of gender. The Judge is required to base all of their decisions on what is in the child’s best interests.
To determine what that is, the Judge may consider factors such as:
If you, or your children, have suffered domestic abuse from your child’s other parent, whether physical or physiological, you should act quickly.
Taking those first steps is incredibly difficult, but we are here to support you. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, our dedication to women has enabled us to create a safe and supportive environment. We have handled numerous cases involving abuse and have the experience necessary to handle even the most high-conflict cases.
Our first priority will be your safety and the safety of your children. We will advise you on how to get somewhere safe, and then we will file a protection order with the court to keep them away. This will give you the time and space to make decisions from a place of clarity; during this time, we will continue to work with you to gather evidence and ensure that the court understands the extent of your experiences.
Parental rights also come with responsibilities, such as the responsibility to provide financially for the upbringing of your children.
Most of the time, the non-custodial parent will pay child support to the other to help towards the cost of their child’s upbringing. The law does not specify what child support should be used to pay for; it could include paying for the child’s residence as well as their clothes, schooling, toys, and food.
Child custody agreements place legal obligations on both parents, such as when each parent has responsibility for the child. If you fail to comply, then you could face legal reproductions, including if you fail to facilitate visitation for the other parent
If your child’s other parent is failing to meet their obligations, then you should speak to a child custody lawyer who can help you mediate with them. If mediation fails, they can also help you to file contempt proceedings with the court.
If an agreement no longer works for you or your family, then it is possible to seek a modification with the help of an attorney. However, you will need to show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances such as illness, recollection, or changing needs of your child.
When you are navigating legal matters that involve the well-being of your children, it is essential that you have support from an experienced attorney who has your best interests at heart.
One sign of a good law firm is a narrow focus, such as family law; this means that the majority of your attorney’s time will be spent navigating issues similar to the ones you are facing.
A family law attorney should be a skilled mediator. Mediation helps parents come to an amicable agreement that is personal to their circumstances while saving money on drawn-out court proceedings and protecting important relationships.
However, they should also be a skilled litigator and prepared to take your case to court if that is in your best interest. If your attorney does not have litigation experience, then you could be left vulnerable.
Finally, your child custody lawyer should make you feel supported. They should educate you on the laws surrounding your case so that you have clarity on your case. If you have questions, they should be prompt to answer them, and you should feel that you can speak with them openly and without judgment.
Many law firms, including Woodford Sathappan McGee, offer free consultations so that you can ask any questions you might have and decide if they are a good fit. You can also use this as an opportunity to decide if you feel comfortable speaking with your potential attorney.
Men and women are equal under the law. Some women mistakenly believe that they will inevitably gain custody, but this is not always the case. The Judge makes all decisions based on the child’s best interests, and it is up to you and your attorney to provide evidence of what that means.
The cost varies between cases; in order to get an idea of what your case might cost, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation.
No. It is important that you continue to facilitate visitation even if your child’s other parent stops paying child support. Child custody and child support are separate issues and should be dealt with as such. If you do stop visitation, you could face legal repercussions for failure to adhere to a court order.
If you are missing child support payments, they won’t disappear. You should contact a family law attorney who can help you and your spouse mediate a solution. If this is not possible, your attorney will help you take legal action.
Each child custody case is unique; while some are finalized within a few months, others could take more than a year. Mediation can help the process move quickly as it minimizes court involvement, which is often a lengthy process.
When you make the decision to separate from your spouse, it can sometimes be necessary to have guidance on key issues, such as child support, while you wait for your divorce to be finalized. Your attorney can help you file for temporary orders, which will be in place for a set amount of time, usually until your divorce decree is issued.
Our team is comprised of both male and female attorneys who are experienced and dedicated to the needs of women. However, we understand that some women prefer to be supported by other women. This could be because you want to work with someone who has the shared experience of motherhood or you have had bad experiences with men. Whatever the reason, we are more than happy to accommodate.
In most family law cases, each party is expected to pay for their own legal fees. However, if the other party earns significantly more than you do, then the Judge may order them to cover some of your fees.
If you can provide evidence for a substantial change in circumstances, you can file for a child custody modification at any time.
If custody is shared, then the court may consider each parent’s income, and if there one earns significantly more, then they may be required to pay child support to the other.
We work with many mothers who have fears for their future and the future of their children. Our goal is to empower them with an understanding of their rights, so they can move forward feeling secure and confident.
We prioritize children in every case so that our clients can look back with the knowledge that they did what was right for their children. We will also take the time to understand what is important to you and will work to ensure that your rights and interests are also considered.
We are skilled mediators and will work to help you and the other parent effectively communicate at every stage. Our Indianapolis family law attorneys have also successfully litigated hundreds of complex and high-conflict child custody cases. Whatever your case throws at us, we will be prepared.