Under Indiana law, there is technically no presumption of primary custody in either parent. Thus, fathers and mothers are equally entitled to time and decision making for their children until a custody order has been entered.
Nonetheless, mother’s prevail in custody fights a significant majority of the time, especially when young children are involved. (Although when teenagers are involved, particularly boys, father’s prevail in about an equal number of the dozens of contested cases I have observed).
Likewise, joint-physical, or “shared” custody is becoming increasingly common, and is now established by agreement in nearly half of all cases involving school aged children and where both parents live in the same school district. This is a much less costly and often, more practical solution, than contested, custody litigation. In rare cases, we are now even seeing trial courts awarding virtually a 50-50 split of parenting time, even in hotly contested situations.
For fathers and children, the trends are positive, but in certain types of situations, there is still a long way to go. Those situations that present the most challenging obstacles to fathers’ and children having substantial time together, typically come about when one or more of the following factors are present:
- The parents were never married;
- The mother is determined to relocate a substantial distance from the father;
- The child(ren) are infants or pre-schoolers; and
- The mother presents with hyper-vigilant mental or emotional conditions, and/or a strong need for vindication.
This author has personally been party to a case involving factors 2-4, and bears extraordinary empathy for other fathers in similar or the same situation – and also has extraordinary sympathy for fathers in paternity matters. The result is the same. A father who loves his children deeply is alienated from his children to a degree that is both unjust and inhumane.
If you are facing any situation where an unfair or unreasonable custody arrangement could result, the Thompson Law Office devotes significant resources to helping you re-shape the playing field to create the best possible environment for a healthy relationship between you and your children.
If you are in such a position, it is vitally important that you do not waste precious time as the custody arrangement begins to congeal, i.e. become the new reality for your children. Act today! Call us for a free, initial consultation at (317) 564-4976 or (877) 365-1776.