When determining custody, Indiana courts are guided by the best interests of the child and consider such important factors as the parents' preferences, the relationship of the child with each parent and other family members, the child's adjustment to the child's home, school, and community, the mental and physical health of all parties involved, and any other factors the court deems as significant.
Generally, there are two basic forms of custody in Indiana - legal custody and physical custody, and each of them can be granted either to one parent or both. Legal custody concerns the right of a parent to make important decisions in a child's life. When joint legal custody is awarded, the spouses have to negotiate when it comes to the child's education, health, travelings, etc. If parents have joint physical custody, the children spend about equal time with each parent.
Indiana courts welcome joint custody arrangements unless it is proven to be harmful to the child. Awarding shared legal or physical custody, the court typically takes into account each spouse's parenting skills and ability to negotiate and cooperate with the other parent.