When circumstances change in the years after a divorce, the original child custody plan may no longer fit your family’s needs. Either parent can request a custody change, and the court will consider this request and make a ruling.
Learn more about the process of seeking a new Indiana parenting agreement.
Best interests standard
The parent requesting a custody change must prove that this change is in the child’s best interests and that one or more of these factors has significantly changed since the original agreement was reached:
- The wishes of one or both parents concerning child custody
- Evidence of family violence or neglect
- Child’s age
- Child’s ability to adjust to the custodial home, community and school
- Child’s wishes about his or her living situation
- Mental or physical health of the child or either parent
If parents agree on the change, they must still request a change to the legal agreement.
Gathering required evidence
Indiana has a high standard of proof for child custody changes; the reasoning is that frequent household changes do not support a child’s adjustment and well-being. Therefore, you must have significant evidence of the best interests standard to successfully argue for a change in physical custody. Examples of evidence you can present in court include:
- Financial information, including pay stubs, health insurance information and other costs associated with raising the child
- Timeline of the changes that have resulted in the custody change request
- Reports and evaluations from the original custody decision
- Existing custody orders
- Police reports
- Medical records
- School records
- Personal witness testimony, either in person or written
- Correspondence with doctors, teachers, therapists and others who play a role in your child’s life
- Photographs, emails, text messages and video and audio recordings
- Journals that detail circumstances leading to the requested change
To get started, you must submit a request to modify custody from the court that issued the original custody order.