APPEAL FROM THE SUPERIOR COURT OF MADISON COUNTY, CRIMINAL DIVISION III, CAUSE NO. 3SD-84-692.
Joseph Stanley Lay (Stanley) appeals the judgment of the trial court in a dissolution of marriage action. The trial court dissolved the marriage, distributed the marital property, awarded custody of the couple's minor child to Stanley's wife, Catherine Lay (Catherine), and ordered Stanley to provide support. The court also ordered Stanley to pay Catherine's attorney fees and fees for psychological evaluations of Catherine and Krista, the child of the marriage.
Stanley presents the following issues for review:
1) whether the court erred in awarding custody of Krista to Catherine;
2) whether the court erred in its distribution of the marital property; and,
3) whether the court erred in ordering Stanley to pay Catherine's attorney fees and fees for psychological evaluations of Catherine and Krista.[Footnote 1]
Stanley argues the trial court's decision awarding Catherine custody of their daughter, Krista, is contrary to the best interests of the child.
The trial court's order is reviewed by the abuse of discretion standard: we will reverse only if the determination is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts before the court and the reasonable inferences drawn from those facts. In Re Marriage of Ford (1984), Ind. App., 470 N.E.2d 357, 363.
The determination of custody is governed by Ind. Code Ann. § 31-1-11.5-21 (Burns 1985) which requires the court to act according to the best interests of the child and lists relevant factors which shall be considered:
"(1) the age and sex of the child;
(2) the wishes of the child's parent or parents;
(3) the wishes of the child;
(4) the interaction and inter-relationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
(5) the child's adjustment to his home, school, and community; and,
(6) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved."
Stanley and Catherine offered evidence as to their particular suitability to be the custodial parent of Krista and as to the particular unsuitability of their spouse to perform that function. The evidence adduced by each party was largely disputed by the other. However, there is evidence Krista, age five (5), is a normal child of above average intelligence who feels much closer to her mother. There is also evidence Catherine is largely responsible for Krista's appropriate manners, adjustment and appearance. In addition, the trial court interviewed Krista in chambers and presumably considered her wishes. We assume the trial court considered the factors set forth in I.C. § 31-1-11.5-21 and, given ...