IndianaChild Visitation Laws
Indiana Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents
What is child visitation?In the context of a child custody case, visitation is defined as the rights for a non-custodial parent to see their child, or as temporary custody that's been granted for a period of time to an otherwise non-custodial parent or relative.
In general, courts in Indiana assume that it is beneficial for both biological parents of a child to have shared custody or visitation, unless it is shown to be against the child's best interests. A biological parent who is denied custody may be awarded visitation rights to provide for a relationship between the parent and child.
Visitation by grandparents, family members, or other third-parties is less clear cut in Indiana, and nationwide. While there are state guidelines regarding third-party visitation in certain situations, these laws are frequently challenged.
Above all else, courts in Indiana strive to make custody and visitation decisions that are "in the best interests of the child". The court handling each individual visitation case has significant flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the child's best interests. You can read about Indiana's visitation guildelines on this page.
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How Can Visitation Rights be Granted?
In Indiana, a biological parent of a minor child may request visitation rights as part of an open divorce, parentage or custody case or may file a petition for visitation in none of these circumstances apply.
The court will decide a request for visitation based on whether granting a parent visitation would be in the "best interests of the child."
What is considered in a child's "best interests" are outlined under the custody and visitation statute which indicate the following factors are relevant to this type of decision:
- The age and sex of the child.
- The wishes of the child's parents.
- The wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age.
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parents and the child's siblings
- The child's adjustment to home, school, and community.
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
- Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent.
A court may award visitation rights if either of the child's parents is deceased, the child's parents' marriage has been terminated, or the child was born out of wedlock. In addition to considering whether visitation is in the child's best interest, a grandparent must show that he or she has had, or attempted to have, meaningful contact with the grandchild. Adoption cuts off the visitation rights of the grandparents unless the adoption is granted to a stepparent or a natural grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew of the child.
In the state of Indiana, there are a number of laws regarding child visitation regarding visitation for third-parties other than the biological parents of the child. While state laws regarding third-party visitation have been frequently been challenged in courts, they are a good indication of Indiana's positions regarding non-parental visitation rights.
Visitation Rights Of Grandparents In Indiana:
Indiana has special statutes regarding the child visitiation rights of grandparents under different circumstances. State law does not provide for general visitation rights of grandparents, but visitation rights may be presumed under certain parental situations.
Regardless of state presumptions regarding grandparent's visitation rights under specific circumstances, an Indiana court may allow or prevent visitation rights in any situation based on the best interests of the child.
Visitation Rights Of Other Parties In Indiana:
Are step-parents granted visitation rights in the state of Indiana?
Generally it is an uphill battle for step-parents seeking visitation rights for a step-child, especially if the biological parents of the child are alive and are opposed to the visitation.
Under Indiana law, legal provisions do exist to grant child visitation rights to step-parents under certain circumstances, so visitation can be readily applied for. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child.
Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in Indiana?
Under state of Indiana law, it may be possible for other individuals to be granted visitation rights by the court. This might include relatives other than the child'a parents, previous caregivers, etc.
Can parents be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or adoption in Indiana?
In the state of Indiana it is possible to be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or giving up a child for adoption. This is the case with both biological parents and previous guardians.