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Indiana courts can modify a child custody order if the modification is in the child’s best interests and there is a substantial change in circumstances. IN Code § 31-17-2-21.  

Please read our other article to review the most recent changes to Indiana’s Family Law.  

This article discusses Modifying a Child Custody Agreement in Indiana. More specifically, this article answers these questions:  

  • How soon can I modify my child custody agreement in Indiana?  
  • What information is necessary when filling out a petition to modify custody?  
  • What happens if the other parent does not agree to the modification?  
  • Do I need a lawyer to enforce or modify my Indiana custody agreement?  

How Soon Can I Modify My Child Custody Agreement In Indiana?

Indiana statutes do not provide a specific amount of time a parent must wait before requesting a modification of child custody. The parent requesting the modification must show that a substantial change which is determined by certain factors, including the  

  • child’s age  
  • wishes of the parents  
  • wishes of the child (more weight is given if the child is at least 14 years old)  
  • child’s relationship with the parents, siblings, or any person who has a significant effect on the best interests of the child  
  • child’s adjustment to the community, school, and home  
  • child’s or a parent’s physical or mental health  
  • a pattern of violent or neglectful behavior  

A parent may also ask for a modification of someone else that is not the other parent who has cared for the child for at least six months. In each case, the parent must also prove that the child benefits from the custody modification, IN Code § 31-17-2-8.  


What Information Is Necessary When Filling Out A Petition To Modify Custody?

Some information the court will want to know when filling out a petition to modify a custody agreement includes  

  • Names and dates of birth of the children  
  • Social security numbers for all parties (parents and children)  
  • Date the last custody order was entered  
  • Description of the change in circumstances  
  • Child support information  
  • If modification is agreed upon, the other parent’s signature  
  • If modification is not agreed upon, the other parent’s address for service  
  • Any other information your attorney deems necessary  

What Happens If The Other Parent Does Not Agree To The Modification?

If the other parent does not agree to the modification of the child custody plan, the court will set a hearing. Each party will be given a chance to prove their stance on the modification and present their case to the judge. The judge will then decide what is in the child’s best interests based on the factors outlined above.  


Do I Need A Lawyer To Enforce Or Modify My Indiana Custody Agreement?

Any person may file a petition for modification without an attorney. However, family matters, especially child custody, are very personal, and hiring an experienced family lawyer can ensure that your rights will be protected. Additionally, a family law attorney can ensure that your stance is voiced while following the rule of law and court procedures.  

If you need help modifying an existing parenting time order, please reach out to us. To request a consultation with an O’Flaherty Law Indiana Family Law Lawyer, call our office at (630) 324-6666, or you can also fill out our confidential contact form, and we will get back to you shortly.

August 3, 2022
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