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Indiana Child Custody and Support Guidelines


Indiana Child Custody and Support Guidelines:

The court may award legal custody of a child jointly if the court finds that an award of joint legal custody would be in the best interest of the child. The court shall determine custody and enter a custody order in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, there is no presumption favoring either parent. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following:

  • The age and sex of the child.

  • The wishes of the child's parent or parents.

  • The wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age.

  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with:

    1. The child's parent or parents.

    2. The child's sibling.

    3. Any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests.

  • The child's adjustment to the child's home, school, and community.

  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

  • Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent.

  • Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian.

If a court determines that a child is in the custody of a de facto custodian, the court shall make the de facto custodian a party to the proceeding. The court shall award custody of the child to the child's de facto custodian if the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child. [Based on Indiana Code Title 31 - Article 17, Chapter 2-8 through 2-13]

Child Support:

In an action for dissolution of marriage, legal separation , or child support, the court may order either parent or both parents to pay any amount reasonable for support of a child, without regard to marital misconduct, after considering all relevant factors, including:

  • The financial resources of the custodial parent.

  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved; or the separation had not been ordered.

  • The physical or mental condition of the child and the child's educational needs.

  • The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent. A child support order may also include, where appropriate, basic health and hospitalization insurance coverage for the child, and provisions for the child's education. In a proceeding to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order, the court shall enter an order for immediate income withholding. The duty to support a child ceases when the child becomes twenty-one (21) years of age unless any of the following conditions occurs:

  1. The child is emancipated before becoming 21 years of age due to joining the United States armed services, marriage, or is not under the care or control of either parent or an individual or agency approved by the court.

  2. The child is incapacitated. In this case the child support continues during the incapacity or until further order of the court.

  3. The child is at least 18, has not attended a secondary or postsecondary school for the prior four months and is not enrolled in a secondary or postsecondary school; and is or is capable of supporting himself or herself through employment. (If the child is only partially supporting or is capable of only partially supporting himself/herself, the court may order that support be modified instead of terminated.)

[Based on Indiana Code Title 31 - Article 16, Chapter 6-1 through 6-6 and Chapter 15-1]

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