Articles Tagged with Indiana child custody lawyer

When it comes to matters of child custody, the wishes of the child – particularly that of a child over the age of 14 – are some of the main statutory factors the court will consider when modifications are requested.

This is not to say that Indiana child custody modifications are solely based upon a child’s wishes. In fact, courts have traditionally been hesitant to do so. However, they are an “important consideration,” per a recent decision of Andrick v. Andrick by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Here, a father sought modification of a child custody agreement involving his teenage son, who was living with his ex-wife, her new fiance, and her fiance’s two children. Although the lower court denied the modification, the court of appeals remanded the case. While Father had requested reversal of the trial court’s ruling, the appellate court was “not prepared to go that far.” It noted there was evidence in the case that could arguably support a result in favor of the mother, but there were erroneous findings by the lower court on crucial issues. There were also repeated citation by the trial court of incorrect legal standards, and thus the appeals court lacked confidence in the accuracy of the lower court’s judgment. Continue reading

Per the 2002 Indiana Supreme Court case of In re Guardianship of B.H., family courts in this state operate with the strong presumption that a child’s interests are best served by being placed with his or her natural parent. When third parties seek to intervene in custody proceedings to acquire custody, it is the third party that bears the burden of proof in the case.

This is true even when natural parents initiate an action to re-obtain custody of a child. In those situations, the burden of proof doesn’t automatically shift back to the parent. Instead, it’s always on the third party. Parents and third parties aren’t, as the courts have held, on a “level playing field” when it comes to custody. Parents will always have the upper hand.

However, this does not mean parents don’t lose these cases. In fact, it happens all the time and it’s often the result of being unprepared for hearings and trials – including failing to adhere to court recommendations and guidelines from previous hearings. Continue reading