Child Custody Information

Indiana Child Custody

The family law attorneys at Bernhardt Phillips represent parents in child custody actions throughout Indianapolis and across the State of Indiana. At Bernhardt Phillips, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you understand your rights and accomplish your goals. If you have questions about your custody order or questions about getting started with a new custody case, then call or click today to schedule your free consultation.

Legal Custody versus Physical Custody

There are two (2) distinct types of custody awarded in Indiana, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody concerns which parent is responsible for making the major decisions regarding a child’s upbringing, including major medical decisions, schooling, and religion. Physical custody concerns where a child spends the majority of their overnights. When dealing with a custody case it is important to know the differences between legal and physical custody, and how both will affect you and your family moving forward. 

Best Interests of the Child

Indiana Code 31-14-13-2 states that “The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child.” But what does that mean exactly? Well, the statute details a very specific list of factors, which the court is to consider when making a custody determination. They are: 

  1. The age and sex of the child.
  2. The wishes of the child’s parents.
  3. 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.
  4. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with:
    1. the child’s parents;
    2. the child’s siblings; and
    3. any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
  5. The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community.
  6. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  7. Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent.
  8. Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian, and if the evidence is sufficient, the court shall consider the factors described in section 2.5(b) of this chapter.


At trial, it will be your responsibility to present evidence to the court related to these factors for the court to make a proper determination of custody. The custody lawyers at Bernhardt Phillips are skilled litigators who will help you prepare and present your case in the best possible manner. If you have questions about your custody case, then schedule your free consultation today. 

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