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Legal Information: Indiana


Laws current as of
November 14, 2023

Are parents required to tell each other their address and phone number?

Anyone who has, or is filing for, custody, parenting time, or grandparent visitation rights has to inform anyone else who has or is seeking those rights of their home address, phone numbers, and email addresses. This contact information must be provided in writing, including electronically, to each person who is entitled to the information. If any of the information changes over time, the updated information must be provided.1 The only exception to this is if the judge rules that sharing this information creates a significant risk of substantial harm to the person required to give the information or to the child.2

1 Ind. Code § 31-17-2.2-0.5
2 Ind. Code § 31-17-2.2-4

What happens to a parent's visitation rights when s/he is deployed?

If a parent who is in the military gets deployed, s/he can ask the judge to temporarily give his/her parenting time to a person who has a close and substantial relationship with the child. The judge can order this if the judge believes it is in the best interests of the child. The temporary arrangement would end automatically when the parent returns from deployment.1

1 IC § 31-17-2-21.1(a), (b)

When can a custody order be changed (modified)?

The judge can modify a child custody order if:

  1. there is a substantial change in one or more of the best factors explained in How will a judge make a decision about custody? and
  2. the modification is in the best interests of the child.1

If the case involves a de facto custodian, the substantial change in circumstances may involve any of the additional factors explained in What is a “de facto custodian” and can s/he get custody?2

1 Ind. Code § 31-17-2-21(a)
2 Ind. Code § 31-17-2-21(a)(2)

What steps do I have to take if I want to relocate?

If you plan to move out of your current home, you need to file a notice of intent to move with the clerk of court that issued the original order if either of the following are true:

  • the move will increase the distance to the other party’s home by more than 20 miles; or
  • the child has to attend a different school due to the move.1

You have to file and serve the notice at least 30 days before the intended relocation or within 14 days after you become aware that you have to relocate, whichever is sooner. The notice must include all of the following unless the judge rules including this information would put you or your child at significant risk of substantial harm:

  1. the address of the intended new residence;
  2. your telephone number(s);
  3. the date of the intended move;
  4. a brief statement of the specific reasons for the move;
  5. a statement as to whether you do or do not believe that it’s necessary to change the order for parenting time or grandparent visitation;
  6. a statement that a non-relocating parent must file a response within 20 days of being served with the notice;
  7. a statement that a party can file a petition requesting an order to prevent the temporary or permanent relocation of a child;
  8. a statement that a non-relocating person can file a petition to modify a custody order, parenting time order, grandparent visitation order, or child support order; and
  9. a statement that all existing orders for custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, and child support remain in effect until modified by the court.2

1 Indiana Statutes § 31-17-2.2-1(a), (b)
2 Indiana Statutes § 31-17-2.2-3(1), (3); 31-17-2.2-4

After I file a notice of intent to relocate, what happens next?

The non-relocating parent has 20 days after being served with your notice of intent to move to file a response that contains one or more of the following:

  • a statement that s/he consents or objects to the relocation;
  • a request for a hearing;
  • a request to change the custody, parenting time order, grandparent visitation, or child support order; and/or
  • a request for a temporary or permanent order to prevent the relocation.1

If the non-relocating parent doesn’t file any response within 20 days, you can relocate.2

If the other parent requests a hearing, the judge will consider the following factors and decide whether to allow or deny the relocation:

  1. the distance involved in the proposed move;
  2. the hardship and expense involved for the non-relocating party to use his/her parenting time or grandparent visitation;
  3. how easy it will be to keep the relationship between the non-relocating party and the child, taking into consideration the financial circumstances of the parties;
  4. whether there is an established pattern of behavior by the relocating party to encourage or discourage the non-relocating party’s contact with the child;
  5. the reasons why the party wants the relocation;
  6. the reasons why the non-relocating party objects to the relocation; and
  7. any other factor that affects the best interest of the child.3

1 Indiana Statutes § 31-17-2.2-5(a)
2 Indiana Statutes § 31-17-2.2-5(g)
3 Indiana Statutes § 31-17-2.2-1(c)

Where can I find more information on custody in Indiana?

Indiana Legal Services has:

  • General information about custody in Indiana, including the factors a judge will consider when deciding custody and an explanation of joint custody;
  • Information on modifying a custody order;
  • General information about visitation in Indiana; and
  • Much more information about custody in Indiana here, including who has custody if there is no custody order and whether or not a child can testify in court.

The Indiana Courts website has information on parenting time guidelines and parenting time forms.


If I move to a new state, can I transfer my child custody case there?

After a final custody order is issued, there may come a time when you and your children move to a different state. For information about how to request to transfer the custody case to a new state, please go to the Transferring a custody case to a different state section in our general Custody page. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you may likely first need to get permission from the court or from the other parent to move your children out of state. Please talk to a lawyer to make sure your plans to move don’t violate your custody order or your state’s parental kidnapping laws.