In Indiana, individuals that share custody of a child(ren) are typically designated as “custodial” and “noncustodial” parents. In most cases, the custodial parent is the parent that provides the primary care for the child and the individual that the child(ren) spends the most time with. A common question we receive from clients that are designated as the “noncustodial parent” is “how can I get custody?” In this blog, we look to answer this question, as well as provide a general overview of custody modification in Indiana.
Custody modification in Indiana is governed by a specific statutory code. Thus, a noncustodial parent seeking to modify custody must comply with the requirements laid out in the controlling statutes. Pursuant to this statute, two requirements must be met to modify a custody order. First, the modification must be “in the child’s best interests.” Second, there must be a substantial change in one of the child custody factors. Courts look at eight different factors when determining custody and what is in the best interest of the child. Those factors are1:
- The age and sex of the child’
- The wishes of the child’s parents;
- The wishes of the child, with more consideration given if the child is at least 14;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parents, siblings, and other person’s who may have a significant impact on the child’s life;
- The child’s adjustment to school, home, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence; and
- Evidence the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian.
Therefore, for a noncustodial parent to modify custody, the noncustodial parent must show: (1) it is in the best interests of the child; and (2) a substantial change to one or more of the factors listed above.
Custody modifications can become tricky for noncustodial parents when trying to determine how to prove it is in the “best interests of the child” and show there has been a “substantial change” to one of the factors. The reason this can be tough is due to the fact-sensitive nature of these types of cases. Importantly, the basis for your modification cannot be based on evidence that occurred before the current custody order that is in place.
Child custody proceedings can be a trying time for individuals. Not to mention, these are very personal and emotional matters for people. If you are in a child custody case, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of an attorney to help navigate through the process. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle all types of child custody cases throughout the State of Indiana and understand the significance of same. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.