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Equal co-parenting allows parents to share the parental duties of raising children. Co-parenting can be a great way for each separated parent to continue to be a significant part of their children’s lives. This article elaborates on how parents can navigate joint custody in Indiana.  


Please visit our other article for the most current updates on Indiana’s Family Laws.  

Dad hugging his child after joint custody agreement

How Does Joint Custody Work In Indiana?

Parents can be awarded shared physical custody and/or legal custody. Indiana law deems equal parenting time as 182 overnights with the children per year.  

In joint physical custody arrangements, the parents may have significant time with the child or children, but the time awarded may not be equal in quantity. The most common example of a shared child custody arrangement is when one parent has parenting time three nights per week, and the other parent has parenting time four nights a week.  

Legal custody is the parent’s ability to make significant decisions on the child’s behalf. Joint legal custody allows parents to have an equal say in the child’s schooling, medical care, and religious affiliation.  

Joint custody, whether physical or legal, will only be awarded if it is in the child’s best interest.  


How Is Child Custody Determined In Indiana?

Parenting time, or custody, is determined by the “best interests of the child” standard. On a case-by-case basis, the court looks at a list of factors applied to the facts of the case to ensure that parenting time is awarded in the child’s or children’s best interests. Some factors the court reviews include:  

  • Each parent’s fitness and suitability  
  • Communication and cooperation between parents  
  • The child’s wishes are given more weight if the child is over the age of 14  
  • The child’s closeness and beneficial relationships with parents, siblings, and persons in each household  
  • Distance between the parents’ homes  
  • The nature of the physical and emotional environment in each parent’s home  

Dad waving goodbye to daughter after joint custody visitation

Do I Have To Pay Child Support With Joint Custody?

In Indiana, parents typically will have to care for the children overnight to get credit in calculating child support. Parents with similar earnings awarded parenting time evenly may not need to make child support payments. However, if one parent makes significantly more income than the other, the court may still order child support even when parenting time is split evenly. Hiring an experienced Indiana O’Flaherty Law Family Law Attorney would be beneficial to ensure you are not being    

For more on Indiana Child Support, please visit our other articles.  


What Happens When Parents With Shared Custody In Indiana Disagree On How To Raise Their Children?

Indiana law does not require co-parenting parties to court to resolve every custody dispute. Parenting plans usually resolve disputes by giving the custodial parent a final choice. Otherwise, parents can discuss and mutually agree on a resolution through mediation.  

When absolutely no resolution can be made, the court may be the only option. Parental responsibilities in Indiana are heard before a judge, no jury. Judges can appoint evaluators, court-appointed guardians, and social service workers to a case to determine which resolution is in the child’s best interest.  


If you want to know more about your rights as a parent in Indiana or if you need counsel to assist you in a Family Law matter, please reach out to us. To request a consultation with an O’Flaherty Law Indiana attorney, call our office at (630) 324-6666. You can also fill out our confidential contact form, and we will get back to you shortly.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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