Friday, December 18, 2009

How to petition for custody in Indiana

Some time back someone used the query "how to petition for custody indiana"  to find themselves to this blog. 

Assuming that the person was seeking to modify a previous Order on custody, then IC 31-17-2-3 controls.  That statute reads as follows:

Commencement of proceeding
Sec. 3. A child custody proceeding is commenced in the court by:
(1) a parent by filing a petition under IC 31-15-2-4, IC 31-15-3-4, or IC 31-16-2-3; or
(2) a person other than a parent by filing a petition seeking a determination of custody of the child.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.9.IC 31-17-2-3

Which probably will leave two questions:  1) what court and 2) what is a petition?

The court will be the court that controls the case - where the person got the divorce or determined paternity. 

A petition is a piece of paper.  Everything in a court starts with a piece of paper.  Nothing in the Indiana Code prescribes the content of a custody petition but you can find a sample version here.

After preparing the petition, it must be filed with the court with a summons so that it can be delivered to the other parent.  After that comes setting a hearing and proving the case.

At some point, it may be a bit clearer what a lawyer brings to the table when trying to file a custody petition.  I do not think that anyone should try this without a lawyer.  If you find it all too much but are still worried about attorney fees, give my Announcing a New Service: Unbundling Legal Services a read,

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