The parties can attempt reconciliation after the provisional hearing. I would suggest that you each inform your attorneys of your intentions in writing so you can avoid continuing to accrue attorney fees during that process. Your attorney will explain this to you. Some courts will allow the case to be continued generally giving you and your spouse time. In regard to your role in the court room that depends on the Judge and the opposing counsel. Some courts only allow provisional hearings...
If you believe your are the biological father, you should register with the putative father registry of Indiana as soon as possible. Next, if mother will not cooperate, you can file a petition to establish your paternity and the court can order for the parties to submit for DNA testing.
In my opinion, it depends on the facts and circumstances of your husband's case. The history, the age of the child, if there is any violence, etc. I have received orders from Courts that did restrict who could be available at pick up and drop offs if the circumstances warranted it. If there is no order currently restricting your presence - and if the mother wishes to modify the order she should have to show that there is a substantial change warranting this restriction in the best interests...
In Indiana, the answer is no - if you do not want input on a Settlement Agreement, then the Court will set the matter for hearing. If you choose not to attend and have been properly served, the Court could proceed without your presence and enter an Order.
The statute allows a party to file a petition to modify child support once every twelve months and then there must be a showing of a 20% difference - the statute also states that child support may be able to be modified if there is a continuing and substantial change of circumstances. You should speak with your attorney as to your options as the court order could include language addressing why you are paying what you are paying which could impact your ability to modify.
This question is asked by many custodial parents each year - they rely upon the advice of their accountant to go around the Court order out of the family courts. Even if the IRS tax regs have rules that seem to allow you to claim your child - if you are not following the state court order addressing exemptions, the other parent can still file a motion to have you held in contempt.
Whether GALs or custodial evaluators are appointed depends on your Judge and/or what the attorneys agree to as well as the facts of your file. If you have an attorney, you should ask him or her why these decisions are being made.
A party is not permitted to speak with the Judge assigned to the case "off the record" without the other party present. What she can do is file a petition to modify support and ask for a hearing. Your husband then should be served with the pleadings. While waiting for the hearing, both sides will exchange current income information and determine if child support should be modified. There is a specific statute that the Court will follow in determining if it can be modified.
There is no specific answer for your question. Each attorney sets their own retainer and hourly rates. If you are interested in hiring an attorney, you should begin to call ones located in your area and ask this question of a particular attorney/firm.