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Do courts prefer “joint” custody for children?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2022 | Child Custody

Any parents in the Indianapolis area who have been through a child custody dispute have probably heard the term “joint custody” plenty of times, in different contexts. Whether in regard to legal or physical custody, “joint” custody is believed by many to be the preferred option.

But why?

Joint Custody in Indiana

Although every family law judge is obviously different, with their own legal background and analysis of a case, joint custody is oftentimes the starting point in a child custody dispute because, quite frankly, it is common to believe that it is in the best interests of the child for both parents to be involved in the child’s life. This presumes, however, that both parents are fit and appropriate caregivers, and that they can communicate with each other and make decisions for their child with minimal conflict. Our readers are probably also familiar with the phrase “best interests of the child.” That is the standard by which judges must usually make all decisions in any family law issues involving children.

Joint custody leaves both parents with some control over the important parts of a child’s life. It is important to remember, however, that there are 2 types of custody in Indiana: legal custody and physical custody.  An award of joint legal custody means that the parents share decision-making authority on issues like religion, education, and medical care for the child or children at issue. Joint physical custody typically means that the child spends substantial time with both parents, though the child may spend slightly more time with one parent compared to the other.

Although it is typically viewed as ideal for parents to be joint custodians, there may be circumstances where this is not appropriate, and each case is unique and fact sensitive. Any parents in the Indianapolis area who are facing child custody issues should get the best information about their own particular situation.