Indiana family courts follow strict rules of law for child custody cases. The court's goal is to decide the best parenting situation for a child. For a more specific understanding of Indiana law, you should consult an attorney to discuss your particular situation. The following is a summary of Indiana laws on child custody and is not intended to be a full description of what to expect in your case.
Child custody guidelines
Indiana courts shall determine custody and enter a custody order on behalf of the child's best interests. In determining the best interest of the child, the court does not favor or give special treatment to either parent. The court will consider all factors such as the age and sex of the child, the wishes of the child's parents, the wishes of the child if he or she is 14 years of age or older, and the interrelationship of the child with their parents, siblings and other relatives. Also, the court will look at the child's ability to adapt to new situations such as a change of home, school or community. Furthermore, the court will examine the mental and physical health of each parent and child, and any evidence of past violence or abuse.
Joint legal custody guidelines
Indiana courts may award joint custody to parents if it finds that it works in the best interests of the child. It's possible for the court to award joint custody that is not physical joint custody. This means that the parent who doesn't have full-time custody can interact with the child via phone and letters only. In determining whether to award joint custody, the court will consider many factors as well as the parents' agreement to partake in joint custody. Indiana courts shall consider the suitability of each parent for custody, whether the parents are willing and able to cooperate in the care of their child, the wishes of the child and the child's relationship with each parent. The court will look a the distance between each parent's residence and if it's in close proximity to share joint custody of their child.
Laws for parenting time
Upon awarding joint custody to a child's parents in Indiana, the court will determine which activities are applicable to parenting time. Indiana courts require parents to keep each other on notice when personal information changes, when one moves or when one changes plans that involve spending time with the child. A child and a custodial parent may be entitled to private communications that do not require the other custodial parent to be involved. Both parents may have access to telephone calls with the child during reasonable hours and duration, and without interference from the other parent. The court may even require each parent to respect the private residence of the parent in custody of the child and to be punctual when exchanging the child for scheduled parenting time.