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Where To Find Family Court Records In Indiana?

In Indiana, family court records are created and distributed by the circuit court division of the trial court. Each county in the state has its circuit court except for Dearborn and Ohio counties, which share a court. The clerks of these are mandated to make family court records accessible to record seekers. Generally, each county has its procedures and guidelines for accessing these records. Therefore, requesters should locate the applicable court clerk and request for a copy of family court records.

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

What Is Family Law In Indiana?

Family laws in Indiana were established to resolve all issues pertaining to individuals who are related by blood. The rules cover matters such as divorce, annulment, child custody, child support, or alimony. The Indiana family law, codified under Article 11–20 of Indiana Code Title 31, was also created to guide court proceedings of family court cases. This family law is divided into ten sections including:

Article 11: Marriage

Article 12: Domestic Relations Courts

Article 13: Parent-Child Relationship

Article 14: Establishment of Paternity

Article 15: Dissolution of Marriage and Legal Separation

Article 16: Support of Children and Other Dependents

Article 17: Custody and Visitation Rights

Article 18.5: Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

Article 19: Adoption

Article 20: Human Reproduction

What Are Family Court Cases And Records In Indiana?

Family court cases in Indiana are brought before the trial court located in each county. The circuit court judge is mandated to resolve family cases like marital litigation, alimony, child custody/support, abuse/violence, visitation rights, and other domestic-related issues. Details of court proceedings in family cases are recorded and maintained by the court clerk. As such, state residents may obtain these records by contacting the court clerk of the trial court where the case was settled.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

● The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile

● The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Are Family Court Cases Public Records In Indiana?

Yes, family court records are public records, as stated in the Indiana Public Records Act. However, not all information on family court records is publicly available for inspection and copying. Requesters can obtain necessary details such as date of the case, location of the court, names of the parties involved, date of the ruling, etc., by querying the court clerk. Confidential information such as juvenile records, private finance records, alcohol test results, and psychological analysis reports are restricted from the public. Even then, some of these sensitive details can be gotten through a court order.

How Do I Find Family Court Records In Indiana?

The family court clerk creates family court records in Indiana. Therefore, requesters may use the Indiana court directory to find the clerk associated with the court that resolved the case. Most county court clerks grant mail or in-person requests. Generally, interested persons using the mail service are expected to include some necessary details in their request to gain access to family court records. Examples of those details are:

● names of the parties involved,

● name/address of the requester

● location of the court

In-person requests may only be granted if the requester provides a state-issued ID or any other valid means of identification.

Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

How Do I Find Family Court Records Online?

The Indiana Supreme Court maintains a central repository for accessing family court records via its webpage. Interested persons can use the online search system with any of the following details:

● The case number

● The personal information of the persons involved

● The attorney name

Users are required to select the name of the county court and tick the ‘family’ option to complete their search. Note that the online platform is limited to non-confidential cases only.

What Is Indiana Custody Law?

Indiana custody laws were established to resolve issues concerning a child’s right to care. These issues arise after the dissolution of a union involving children. The law is contained in Indiana Code 31–17, and it is divided into six sections:

  • Chapter 2: Actions for custody
  • Chapter 2.2: Relocation
  • Chapter 2.4: Mediation
  • Chapter 3.5: Bond requirements and form for securing custody
  • Chapter 4: Parenting time rights
  • Chapter 5: Grandparent’s visitation

Child custody in Indiana can be legal or physical. Legal custody refers to decision-making rights granted to a parent after a divorce. Physical custody determines which parent the child will live with after the divorce. Joint custody (or co-parenting) may be granted if the trial court judge finds it to be in the best interest of the child. In joint custody, parents may share legal or physical responsibility. Generally, the circuit court judge must determine what is best for the child after questioning and observing both co-parents. Some factors that will give insight into the best type of custody for the child are:

● The wishes of the child based on the age, which is set at 14 years.

● The bond of the child with each co-parent or any other individual which can have a significant impact on the best interests of the child.

● The physical and mental health of both the co-parents and the child.

● The child’s ability to adapt to a particular environment and conditions like new home, school, and group.

● The co-parents’ preferences, which will only be considered but will not decide what is best for the child.

How To Find Family Court Lawyers In Indiana?

Parties involved in an Indiana family court case are advised to seek legal help. This will help them ease the burden of research and other unprofessional errors. Unlike other states, the Indiana State Bar does not provide Lawyer Referral Services. Interested persons may find the county bar association for such services. Alternatively, a plaintiff/defendant may also use the Locate your Lawyer directory provided by the state bar association. The directory offers information on:

  • Members of the association,
  • Attorney and their location
  • Cost of hiring each lawyer
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