Indiana parents facing a child custody hearing might be curious about what questions a judge may ask in court. This can be a very stressful time, and knowing what to expect at your hearing could alleviate some of that stress.
Sole or joint custody
First, a judge will want to know if you are seeking sole or joint custody. Many courts prefer to award joint custody, feeling that it is in the child’s best interests to have a loving relationship with both parents. A parent seeking sole custody of their child will need to prove that the other parent is unfit to care for that child. A family law attorney can answer questions you might have prior to your hearing.
Current custody arrangements
Next, the judge will ask about your current child custody arrangements and how they are working out for both parents. If the arrangement appears to be suitable for all concerned, the judge may leave it as is in order to maintain consistency for the child. The judge might also inquire about each parent’s work schedule or other commitments.
Communication between parents
Before granting joint custody, the judge will want to know if the parents can communicate with each other about the child’s needs. It is imperative in this custody arrangement that the parents can put aside any differences to make sure they are on the same page regarding child care. It also ensures that both parents have a say in their child’s day-to-day life.
The judge may ask about your income and your ability to provide basic necessities for your child. You may need to bring proof of your income to the court. The court might assign child support payments at this time, but sometimes child support cases require a separate hearing. The judge will consider all income, debt and any other financial obligations you might have before making a decision on child support awards.
Seeking legal counsel
You do not have to face a child custody hearing alone. A family law attorney can advocate for you during this trying time.