In Indiana, there are several terms which are commonly used to describe custody of the children: “JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY” is when both the mother and father each have an equal say in three areas affecting the children, namely, the religious upbringing, education and healthcare choices. There is also “JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY” which generally assumes the children will spend an approximately equal amount of time with each parent. “PHYSICAL CUSTODY” is when the children primarily reside with one parent and the other parent exercises parenting time pursuant to either an agreement of the parties and/or court Order. Indiana has enacted Parenting Time Guidelines which the courts look to for assistance in determining the amount of parenting time, if the parties are unable to agree. Physical custody and legal custody can be combined in different ways:
- The parties can share joint physical and legal custody of the children, which means that the children spend equal time at which of the parent’s home, and the parents still consult one another when making decisions about education, healthcare and religion for the children.
- One party can have physical custody of the child, with both parties sharing joint legal custody, which means the child continues to live primarily with one of the parents, but the parents still consult each other and make joint decisions with regard to education, healthcare and religion.
- One party can have physical and legal custody of the child, which means the child primarily lives with one parent and that parent makes all the decisions concerning education, healthcare and religion.
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