Divorce is never easy, but it can be particularly complex for families with children. There is an expectation that both parents should spend time with their children, regardless of which parent has primary physical custody. Indiana utilizes parenting time guidelines to assist parents in ensuring fair scheduling. It is important to discuss the current child custody laws with your attorney before making any decisions regarding parenting time.
Indiana has parenting time guidelines in place that apply to parents who do not have other orders in place. Parents are able to agree to their own plans, which would take precedence, as long as they are made part of the divorce agreement. Indiana amended its own guidelines, which took effect March 1, 2013. If you have a parenting agreement issued before that date, the new rules do not apply.
Typically, parents alternate spending time with their children during the week or on weekends. This applied to the schedule, even when there were holidays. The revised guidelines take holidays into consideration by treating them as special days, rather than as typical days. They also added holidays into the list, including Martin Luther King Day and Presidents’ Day. For these holidays, the non-custodial parent gets visitation during years that end in even numbers. The holiday is a full weekend starting on Friday evening and ending on Monday evening.
Winter break includes time off for both Christmas and New Year’s Day. New calculation methods are now in place for determining parental visitation during these holidays. Winter break days are now counted beginning on the last Friday of school, after the end of the school day, and include that first weekend of time. This break time is supposed to be divided in half between parents. The primary custodial parent receives the first half of the vacation time in years that end in even numbers.
Parents can make changes to parenting time, but they must be done through the court system. Modifications can only be made to the order by a judge. A request for a modification hearing is required. Then, both parents are able to attend the hearing and present their cases. Some changes are easier than others because both parents agree to them. Parents may disagree regarding some important issues. For example, when one parent wants to move out of state with the child, the other parent may not agree to the change.
Parents are able to put their own parenting plans into use, if they choose to do so. This is done at the time of divorce, and the plan is utilized instead of the standard plan. Parents may find that they are able to put together a much more detailed plan, and one that works best for their family situation, when they do it themselves. A personalized parenting plan is possible when both parents are in agreement with the details of it. An experienced divorce attorney will assist you in developing a parenting plan that works best for your family. Contact the skilled legal team at The Bellinger Law Office to schedule a consultation today.