There is nothing easy about divorce with important legal decisions to be decided, often with some degree of dispute, and emotions riding high throughout the process. Child custody arrangements can be difficult to handle even under the best of circumstances. Indiana law begins with the premise that it is usually in the best interest of the child to have frequent, meaningful and consistent contact with both parents. However, when circumstances dictate otherwise, temporary custody arrangements may need to be put into place.
Typically, after a couple has separated and before the divorce is final, a temporary custody arrangement goes into effect. This may be essentially the same as the final order, or it may reflect some issues that must be addressed pending the ultimate resolution. For instance, if one spouse is residing temporarily where children would not have an adequate living environment, that parent may not be able to care for the child until that situation is rectified. Family law experts caution, however, that there is a tendency for courts to make temporary orders permanent.
There are reasons why temporary custody orders may extend through the foreseeable future. Extreme demands from employment, lack of adequate financial resources and the threat of domestic violence are among the reasons a court may make a temporary order restricting a parent’s custody rights. If temporary custody is requested or granted, it should be narrowly tailored and as specific as possible. Importantly, even if custody is restricted in some manner, visitation rights should not be limited absent some overriding concern to the contrary.
Although child custody arrangements should always have the best interest of the child as foundational, those interests may change and lead to an agreement modification. A family law attorney may provide counsel on the issues of child custody and all divorce matters.