The Divorce Act and cases that control Indiana divorce law are driven by policies that favor the parties reaching agreements. Particularly where children are involved, agreements avoid the “warfare” that sometimes ensues with contested custody cases.
However, all such agreements must be in the children’s best interests. Ultimately, Indiana’s trial court judges stand in loco parentis (act as a parental figure) and review agreements to ensure all such agreements between the parties over their children are, in fact, in their best interests. In most cases, this is the case.
Recent Indiana decisions have re-confirmed there are two matters parents cannot agree to. The first is no child support. Child support is for the benefit of the children. Parents have no ability to contract away this right. This is to ensure the children, to the extent possible, have the same lifestyle had the parents remained together. Indiana trial court judges will reject such agreements, except in rare cases where such a deviation is supported by the Child Support Rules and Guidelines.
The second is parents cannot agree to no parenting time. Often these two concepts are viewed together. A parent makes an agreement not to visit the child in exchange for not seeing the child. This is not in the child’s best interests any more than not paying child support, and Indiana judges and appellate courts will reject such agreements.
Agreements are almost always favorable to courts and likely to be approved when they involve children, but they must focus on the child’s best interests. No child support or parenting time in almost all cases is not in a child’s best interests. It is hoped this blog helps readers understand the key importance of agreements, but as well, the limits as it relates to children.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle all facets of a divorce and post divorce cases throughout the State of Indiana. This blog is not intended to provide specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is best thought of as an advertisement. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C.