Modification of Custody and Parenting in Indiana – Considerations and Requirements

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Posted in On May 6, 2024

Parents and families may be curious as to how and when a modification in custody and parenting time would be granted. Family courts take careful consideration when deciding whether to modify custody and parenting time in order to avoid disrupting the child’s stability. However, a child’s and family’s needs may evolve over time and thus, a modification in custody or parenting time may be needed to better suit the needs of the child. In doing so, a family court will examine various factors and if those factors have led to a change in circumstances affecting the best interests of the child.

Legal Considerations in Modifying Custody

In Indiana, the modification of custody is governed under Indiana Code 31-17-2. In determining whether a modification of custody is warranted, the court will examine (1) whether the modification is in the best interests of the child and (2) whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances.  In making its determinations as to whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances, the court will examine the following factors:

  1. The child’s age and sex.
  2. The wishes of the parents and the child, with more consideration given to the wishes of the child if he or she is 14 years or older.
  3. The child’s relationship with members of the family including the parents, siblings, and other persons who impact the child’s best interests.
  4. The child’s adaption to their home, school, and community.
  5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  6. Any incidents of domestic or physical violence by parents.
  7. Any evidence that the child has been cared by a de facto custodian.
  8. A designation of a power of attorney

In determining whether a modification is permitted, the court may also examine any other relevant factors not listed in Indiana Code 31-17-2-8 that are substantially impacting the bests interests of the child.

Legal Considerations in Modifying Parenting Time

Under Indiana Code 31-17-4-2, a modification of parenting time may be granted “whenever a modification would serve the best interests of the child.” However, a parent’s parenting time rights may not be restricted unless the court finds that the parenting time would endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development, as found by the Indiana appellate courts.

How to Modify Custody and Parenting Time

If a parent believes that the court’s original order determining custody or parenting time needs modified, that parent will need to submit a petition to modify custody or a petition to modify parenting time to the court to request the modification.  The court will then likely set the case for a hearing for both parents to attend and present their evidence supporting their requests as to custody and parenting time.

If you or someone you know has questions regarding modification of custody and parenting time or need assistance in obtaining a modification of custody or parenting time, consulting with a family law attorney regarding your options can be helpful. The experienced Indianapolis family law attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC can help with your parenting time needs. Give us a call at (317)-526-4630 to help you navigate your case.