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Indiana Code Title 31 Article 17 details the consequences of best parental custody arrangements. The law allows a court to decide on a custody arrangement and makes the best interest of the child the main priority when making determinations. An Indiana court can decide on custody arrangements including, but not limited to: joint custody, sole custody, or guardianship, depending on what works best for the circumstances. In most cases, joint custody is preferred, which means that the parents share obligations and decision-making, even if the child spends more time with one parent.
In accordance with the Indiana Code Title 31 Article 21, the non-custodial parent, (the parent who does not have primary custody of the child), is usually responsible for paying child support. The amount of child support may vary depending on the circumstances, such as the number of children, each parent’s income and other expenses, or the applicable child support guidelines. In some cases, courts adjust child support obligations based on each parent’s ability to contribute. Parents are encouraged to come to an agreement on the amount of child support outside of the court.
The Indiana Code Title 34 Article 8 allows a court to order either parent to pay additional co-parenting expenses involving activities in which both parents are expected to participate, such as health and daycare costs, educational expenses, extracurricular activities and other related costs. A court also requires both parents to contribute in covering travel expenses related to visitation. The court may examine the ability of the parents to pay when making a decision on the co-parenting expenses.
Indiana’s parental rights statutes (Indiana Code Title 30 Article 4) sets forth the rights and responsibilities of the custodial and non-custodial parent. It is important for both parents to be aware of these rights before entering a co-parenting arrangement. The custodial parent has the primary right to make decisions related to the child’s health, education, religion and general welfare, although it is still possible for the non-custodial parent to provide advice and guidance. Non-custodial parents are entitled regular visitation with their children, unless the court determines that such visitation is not in the best interest of the child. Indiana law also permits non-custodial parents to request a modification of a court’s parenting plan or parental rights.
A parenting plan is a written document in which co-parents detail how they will share parenting responsibilities. This plan should outline how the parents will make decisions, share time and expenses with the child, and address any additional matters that pertain to co-parenting. It should also address relocating, health coverage, education expenses and extracurricular activities. Indiana law encourages parents to reach an agreement based on the best interests of their child, but if they cannot agree, the court will make a decision in accordance with Title 31 Article 17.
Indiana’s visitation statutes (Indiana Code Title 31 Article 17) provide guidance on visitation rights for non-custodial parents. Generally, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child when making an order regarding visitation. Factors that can impact visitation include the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s age and maturity, and any mental or physical health concerns. Visitation can take many forms, including supervised contact or overnight visits.
Indiana Code Title 34 Article 11 outlines the mediation process if parents cannot reach an agreement on their own. The court may require the parents to attend a mediation session to reach an agreement on topics such as custody, support and/or parenting plans. In some cases, the court may appoint a mediator to help facilitate an agreement. If a mediation session is unsuccessful, the court can make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.
Co-parenting in Indiana can be a complex and challenging process, especially when the parents do not agree on the major issues. It is important for both parents to be aware of all applicable statutes and legal considerations in order to successfully work together for their child. By understanding the laws and regulations on custody, child support, co-parenting expenses, parental rights, decisions, parenting plans and visitation rights, both parties can strive to reach a successful co-parenting agreement that is in the best interests of the child.
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Warning: This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.