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Indiana Child Custody Laws

We all know Indiana can be a great place to fall in love. Unfortunately, not every Hoosier State romance has the happiest ending. And when children are involved in the end of a relationship, parents have to figure out which laws will apply to and who will get custody. This is a quick summary of child custody laws in Indiana.

Child Custody Laws

Each state’s child custody laws are generally similar; as Indiana, like most states, has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act. Indiana child custody laws recognize joint custody as an option for separated parents, as well as grandparents’ visitation rights, and courts will generally consider a child's own wishes before issuing custody orders.

Child Custody Statutes in Indiana

Learn more about Indiana’s child custody laws in the chart below.

Code Section

§31-17-1-1 et seq.

Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, §31-17-2-13

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, §31-17-5-1, et seq.

Child's Own Wishes Considered?


Indiana Custody Hearings

If you and your ex are unable to agree on a custody arrangement on your own, a court may have to hold a custody hearing to decide contested issues. In most cases, a judge will create an arrangement based on the child’s best interests. Indiana family courts can consider any factor relevant to a child’s best interests, and will generally give more weight to the factors that will affect the child’s safety and wellbeing. Some of these factors will focus on the child's relationship with any siblings, the need for consistency and continuity in his or her education, community, and family life. By age 11, courts typically allow the child to state his or her preference.

Other factors may focus on the parents, like which parent is more likely to take care of the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational, and special needs of your child. The court also will consider which of the parties is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent, and nurturing relationship with your child. A judge is also allowed to consider whether either parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, any past or present physical abuse, and certain criminal charges and convictions.

Indiana Family Laws Related Resources:

Child custody matters can be legally and emotionally difficult, and you may find it helpful to talk to an attorney. If so, you can contact an Indiana family law attorney near you to schedule a consultation. For more general information on this topic, you can visit FindLaw's Child Custody section.

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