How to Petition the Court for Custody in Indiana

By Rebecca C. Jernigan - Updated March 17, 2017

While it is generally believed to be in a child's best interest for them to remain in the home they are accustomed to, sometimes that may not be the safest or most supportive environment. In these cases, it is possible to petition the court for a change of custody by either modifying a divorce agreement or, in rare cases, removing a child from the custody of their parents altogether. Custody laws vary by state, so knowledge of Indiana's requirements is necessary before you begin the process.

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Select a lawyer or legal advisor. While it is possible to file for custody without legal assistance, navigating the courts can be very difficult. A lawyer familiar with family law will give you a better chance at the outcome you desire.

Define why the custody change would be in the child's best interest. In Indiana, the courts will consider the child's preference in addition to health and safety issues. Unsubstantiated claims will not be enough to change custody, so make sure you have proof.

File the appropriate paperwork with your county court. If you have legal representation, they will handle this for you. Otherwise, you will need to contact the court for the forms. Indiana does not provide forms or assistance on its government website for custody cases, and recommends using a lawyer.


Indiana law permits third-party, non-parental, custody claims. The petitioner must prove that living with the parents would be detrimental to the child.

About the Author

From 2006 through 2009, Rebecca Jernigan wrote and edited articles for Laurin Publishing, where she was published in "Photonics Spectra," "BioPhotonics" and "Europhotonics" magazines. She has experience in fields ranging from ophthalmology to photonics, and holds a master's degree in publishing as well as degrees in psychology, English and Spanish.

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