Indiana Code Title 31. Family Law and Juvenile Law § 31-17-2-8.5

Sec. 8.5 .  (a) This section applies only if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian.

(b) In addition to the factors listed in section 8 of this chapter, the court shall consider the following factors in determining custody:

(1) The wishes of the child's de facto custodian.

(2) The extent to which the child has been cared for, nurtured, and supported by the de facto custodian.

(3) The intent of the child's parent in placing the child with the de facto custodian.

(4) The circumstances under which the child was allowed to remain in the custody of the de facto custodian, including whether the child was placed with the de facto custodian to allow the parent now seeking custody to:

(A) seek employment;

(B) work;  or

(C) attend school.

(c) If a court determines that a child is in the custody of a de facto custodian, the court shall make the de facto custodian a party to the proceeding.

(d) The court shall award custody of the child to the child's de facto custodian if the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child.

(e) If the court awards custody of the child to the child's de facto custodian, the de facto custodian is considered to have legal custody of the child under Indiana law.


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