If there is one myth that overshadows all others when it comes to divorce in Indiana, it is the persistent belief that the children in the family will always be better off if placed with the mother. In fact, some fathers become so convinced that they could never possibly win custody that they give up without ever trying for it.
Despite the widespread social bias that seems to claim that a mother’s role is more important than a father’s, the truth is that a father plays a very important role in the life of his children and that Indiana law protects both parents regardless of their sex.
Fathers have rights, as do children
In custody matters where parents can’t settle their own disputes, a judge uses Indiana state law as a guide when making decisions about custody arrangements. Typically, a judge should focus on what would be best for the children, but they also need to consider the rights of the parents.
In most families, having regular interaction with both parents will be what is best for the children. Judges usually prefer to create shared custody arrangements unless there is evidence of some kind of risk to the children, like a history of abuse.
Many fathers become better parents during divorce
The fact that the mother may have previously been the primary caregiver for your children does not automatically mean that she will get so custody in your divorce proceedings. Plenty of men who struggle with parenting at first in shared custody arrangements adjust quickly and eventually become better parents.
They engage with their children more, learn more about their daily lives and become more invested emotionally. While you may not have performed much caregiving previously, you can still step into that role now that doing so is the key to spending time with your children. In a scenario where the mother of your children may present some kind of threat to them, you might even be able to request sole custody.
Of course, you need to know and understand that you have a right to time with your children and to say in the major choices about their lives if you are to play an integral role in their futures. Learning more about Indiana custody laws and your rights as a father will help you stay as involved as possible.