How to establish child custody in Indiana
December 19, 2023
Navigating child custody arrangements can be a challenging process for both the parents and
children involved. From filing your initial petition to taking your case to court, every step requires
careful consideration and strategic planning as this process has significant implications for the
future of your family.
How to establish child custody in Indiana?
In Indiana, there is no law that automatically passes on the child’s custody to the mother.
Instead, the custody of the children is decided based on the arrangement that aligns with the
children’s best interests. Some of the factors that influence this decision include the wishes/desires of the child involved, the fitness of each parent to provide adequate care for the
child, as well as the relationship between the child and the parent. The general custody process
in Indiana can be broken down into five steps.
Filing a Petition
The first step in the child custody process is filing a petition to open a case with the appropriate
trial court. In order to file the petition, you will first have to fill out the petition form that can be
provided by the court or found through online resources. This form will generally ask you to
provide information such as your background, employment, living situation, as well as details
about the other parent and your children. In order to complete this step, you will also have to
submit supporting documents and list out the specific custody arrangement that you think would
Serving the Other Parent
After filing the petition, the next step is serving the other parent with a formal notice of the
petition as well as any supporting documents that need to be included. The other parent may
respond with a counter petition if they want the arrangements to be done differently or they may
also ask to proceed with a settlement that occurs outside of the court.
After both parents are aware that a case has been filed, the discovery process begins which
includes the lawyers of the respective parties exchange evidence as well as information that
would be utilized in the court hearings, and to ultimately come to the final custody arrangement.
The mediation process involves judges ordering parents to work with a mediator who is an
expert in family law. The goal of mediation is to come to a compromise on the terms of the
custody arrangement. This process is required because it allows the parents to have a chance
to reach a settlement without having to engage in further court proceedings. The mediators in
these cases may be provided by the court or may be privately hired by the parties involved.
If the mediation proves unsuccessful, the next step is to have hearings with the court in order
to determine a finalized custody arrangement. At the hearing, the judge listens to each parent’s
respective viewpoints and arguments, analyze the evidence and information provided, and
gauge the perspective of the child or children involved. The judge will then come to a final
decision on the custody arrangement through one or multiple court sessions.
At Ball Eggleston, we recognize that this process can prove to be complex and challenging. Our
team of lawyers are committed and dedicated to providing you with the necessary support and
guidance throughout the entirety of this legal process, as well as help you achieve a resolution
that prioritizes the well-being of both you and your children.