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Different Types of Custody in Indiana 

When inquiring about the different types of custody in Indiana, people are typically wondering about the diffdiverence between legal and physical custody, as well as the topic of emergency custody in Indiana. However, some people are also curious about the different types of custody arrangements (or parenting time schedules) available under an Indiana child custody order. This article will address each of these topics and provide ample resources for further research on child custody in Indiana, as a whole.  

If you have further questions about the different types of custody in Indiana or parental rights in general, feel free to contact the Indiana child custody lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our team is comprised of experienced family law litigators who can arm you with the knowledge and unwavering legal support you need at this time. We’ll help you navigate any complex legal matters you may have, and fight vigorously to protect you and your loved ones.  

To speak with an Indiana family law attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Keffer Hirschauer LLP: Indiana Family Law Attorneys

Custody Types in Indiana 

When it comes to questions about the different types of custody in Indiana, most people are asking about the difference between legal and physical custody. Interestingly, these two concepts are not actually related; instead, they pertain to two completely different aspects of a child’s care and upbringing.  

When a parent has been granted legal custody in Indiana, they have the right and responsibility to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing – such as the child’s education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. In Indiana, it’s not uncommon for legal custody to be shared by two parents (joint legal custody). However, it is possible for legal custody to be granted to just one parent (sole legal custody).  

Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to who literally has custody of the child, according to the parenting time schedule, at any given time. So, for example, if the parenting time schedule says that “dad” has custody on Tuesday; then “dad” would have physical custody of the child on that day. When a parent has physical custody of a child, they are responsible for the child’s immediate daily needs, including providing food, shelter, and direct supervision. 

Joint Legal Custody Type in Indiana

Like legal custody, physical custody may be granted solely to one parent (sole physical custody) or shared jointly by both parents (joint physical custody). In situations where the parents have been granted a joint physical custody order, the child would spend significant time with both parents, and the parents may have an equal or shared schedule for the child’s residential time. 

Although these may sound like related types of custody in Indiana, legal and physical custody are separate considerations and can be awarded differently by the court. For instance, one parent may have sole physical custody of the child, meaning the child primarily resides with them; yet the parents may share joint legal custody, which allows them to make decisions together.  

Every custody matter is unique, so the specific terms and arrangements of legal and physical custody will depend on the circumstances of each case and the best interests of the child, as determined by the court or through mutual agreement between the parents. Given this, it’s always best to speak with an Indiana child custody lawyer to fully understand the landscape of any legal matters regarding the different types of custody in Indiana .

Emergency Custody in Indiana

Another type of custody order in Indiana is called an emergency custody order. This type of order is made when a child is not safe in their home and must be removed from the home. When this occurs, the child is placed in protective emergency custody awaiting an initial hearing within 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and certain legal holidays.  

In Indiana, an emergency custody order may be executed prior to the completion of a child abuse investigation, if the law enforcement agency or the Indiana Department of Child Services believes that removal of the child is necessary to protect them from further abuse or neglect.  

Indiana Code 31-34-4-6 provides that a parent, custodian, or guardian of a child who has been taken from the home under an emergency custody order in Indiana has a handful of rights in this type of matter. These include the right to: 

  • have a detention hearing held by a court within 48 hours following the child’s removal from the home 
  • request the return of the child at the hearing 
  • be represented by an attorney who may cross-examine witnesses and present evidence on the parent’s, custodian’s, or guardian’s behalf at each court proceeding on a petition alleging that the child needs services.   
  • be represented by a court-appointed attorney  
  • not make statements that incriminate themselves and that an incriminating statement may be used during a court proceeding on a petition alleging that the child needs services.  
  • request to have the case reviewed by the child protection team  
  • be advised that a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship must be filed whenever a child has been removed from the child’s parent and has been under the supervision of the department for at least fifteen (15) months of the most recent twenty-two (22) months.  

If you have had a child removed from your home under an order of emergency custody, you’ll need a skilled Indiana DCS attorney with experience addressing civil and criminal investigations involving parents and children. To speak with one today, contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-751-7186. Our child custody lawyers in Indianapolis can provide you with trusted representation and accurate information regarding emergency custody law and how it applies to your specific case. 

Different Parenting Time Schedules in Indiana 

When agreeing to a certain type of custody order in Indiana, the best outcomes arise when two parties work together to agree on a parenting time schedule that is most beneficial to the child(ren). In some situations, the ideal agreement is a 50/50 custody order, where the two parents split the parenting time schedule equally. However, it’s not uncommon for parents to agree to a 60-40 or 70-30 schedule too.  

In situations where two parties disagree on the parenting time schedule, the court may need to step in and make their own determination. While there is no preferred or statutory type of custody order in Indiana, family courts would generally like to pursue joint legal custody and near-equal parenting time. However, courts must make a determination that is aligned with the Indiana parenting time guidelines. These guidelines set forth the array of factors the court shall use to help determine the schedule, including the age of the child and the proximity of the parents’ homes. For instance, orders that involve children who are older than the age of three and live near the noncustodial parent, the recommended parenting time schedule includes alternating weekends, one evening each week, scheduled holidays and school breaks. For orders that involve children ages 3 and 4, who live further away from their non-custodial parent, the recommendation would be four, non-consecutive weeks each year.  

In addition, when issuing a parenting time order, courts must always consider the best interest of the child, using the standard set forth in Indiana Code 31-17-2-8. This standard requires courts to factor in a variety of elements including the age and sex of the child; the wishes of the parents; the wishes of the child (with more preference given to children over the age of 14); the child’s relationship with their parents and siblings; etc.  

Further Questions on the Different Types of Custody in Indiana 

Matters of family law are often both complex and emotional; and have the potential to radically alter one’s day-to-day life, and/or that of their child(ren). Therefore, when it comes to questions or concerns regarding divorce and child custody, modifications to parenting time, or the various types of custody available in Indiana, it’s always best to consult with skilled, experienced custody lawyers in Indianapolis.  

The family law attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer are passionate, hands-on litigators who will take your needs and wishes to heart. Our team will fight vigorously and aggressively for your custody rights throughout your divorce and into the next chapter of your life. So, if you need an advocate, do not hesitate to call our offices at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a member of our team. We stand ready to begin building a plan to meet your custody goals.

Different Types of Custody in Indiana
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Different Types of Custody in Indiana
This article discusses a variety of different types of custody in Indiana
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Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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