Custody rules in Indiana are open to the interpretation of the judge presiding over a case. The rules for custody arrangements require that a judge prioritize the best interests of the children in a family, which usually means a shared custody arrangement where both parents play an active role in the daily lives of the kids. Judges expect parents to put aside their differences and work together for the well-being of their children.
There are occasionally scenarios in which Indiana family law judges will acknowledge that sole custody may be the better solution. What are the three most common reasons that one parent secures sole custody in an Indiana family law matter?
Not all custody arrangements come from a judge. Parents can set their own terms in uncontested proceedings. Sometimes, one of the parents in the family recognizes that they do not have the time or capability to meet the needs of the children in a reliable manner.
Perhaps they have a job that requires frequent international travel, or maybe they have significant health concerns that leave them unable to get out of bed sometimes. If the parents reach their own agreement outside of court, the courts may approve sole custody for one parent based on that arrangement.
Substance abuse issues
Addiction can lead to both parental neglect and abuse. When there are medical records or police reports affirming that one parent has a serious issue with alcohol abuse or the use of prohibited or controlled substances, a judge may agree that giving them direct control over the children may not be the safest decision.
Arrest records for possession or drunk driving and hospital records can help prove to the courts that your ex has an issue with substance abuse.
A history of domestic violence
Maybe your ex would come home from the bar and scream at you in front of the children before becoming physically abusive. Maybe their attempts at discipline turned into physical aggression against your children.
As with substance abuse disorders, you typically need official documentation of domestic violence if you hope for your claims to make an impression on the family law judge presiding over your case. However, if you can show that your ex is unstable or unsafe around the children, a judge may agree that limiting their parenting time is the best choice.