Indiana courts make custody decisions based on what is in a child’s best interest. This depends on several factors that are all considered equally.
One of these factors is the wishes of the child, which many Indiana parents interpret to mean that their child can choose their own custody schedule, especially when they become adolescents or teenagers.
However, although a child’s wishes are considered, they are only one factor out of many. When a child gets older, their wishes are typically given more weight by a court, but the decision is never truly up to the child.
Indiana parenting time guidelines
In fact, Indiana parenting time guidelines specifically address parenting time when a child is an adolescent or teenager.
Under the guidelines, regular parenting time consists of one parent having primary physical custody, with the non-custodial parent receiving custody on alternating weekends, with additional time during the summer, as well as some holiday time.
The parenting time guidelines acknowledge that a strong connection to their family is the most important factor in keeping teenagers safe and that this is accomplished through the child spending regular time in the company of each parent.
The importance of close and positive relationships
Parents are encouraged to have clear rules that are agreed upon between both households, although it is understood that this can be challenging if both parents have different parenting styles.
According to the guidelines, the child should also have strong relationships with siblings and friends. Additionally, a child who makes good decisions and does what is expected should be given a wider range of choices.
Your child may tell the court that they want to live with you and the court might still order that the other parent is given some partial custody. If the child dutifully follows the court order, their opinion could be given more weight in the future.