Deciding to end a marriage can be difficult under any circumstances, but it is even more challenging when there are children in the family. After all, in addition to having to accomplish other divorce-related tasks, such as dividing marital property, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse must come up with an acceptable child custody arrangement.
Settling on a custody arrangement is often easier in theory than it is in practice. Indeed, when thinking about yours, you have to deal with at least three sets of opinions: yours, your spouse’s and your child’s. How much of a say does your child get in the final custody arrangement, though?
No explicit say
Some states explicitly allow children to have some input about who gets custody. Indiana is not one of those states, though.
According to the Indiana Rules of Court, judges must consider what is best for the child when making custody determinations. The child’s opinion may play a part in these determinations, provided the child is at least 14.
If you have a teenage child, a judge may want to hear what he or she thinks about your proposed custody arrangement. You must be careful not to improperly influence your child’s decision-making, however. If you try to turn your son or daughter against his or her other parent, your actions may backfire.
Because judges in the Hoosier State do not take parental alienation lightly, it is best to treat your soon-to-be ex-spouse as fairly as possible. Ultimately, though, if your spouse does something to alienate your child, you may have grounds to pursue sole custody.