The non-custodial parent is entitled to “reasonable parenting time rights,” formerly referred to as “visitation.” However, this parenting time entitlement may be restricted if the court, after a hearing, finds that the non-custodial parent’s parenting time might endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development. The court may modify a parenting time order whenever modification would serve the best interests of the child.
In the event that the custodial parent is continually interfering with parenting time, the court may cause the custodial parent to post a security bond or other guarantee to secure enforcement of the order. In certain situations, if a custodial parent violates a parenting order, the court may find the custodial parent in contempt, award makeup time, implement a jail sentence and award reasonable attorney fees and court costs.
If the non-custodial parent has been convicted of a crime involving domestic or family violence that was witnessed by the child, there is a rebuttal presumption that the court shall order supervised parenting time. In this situation, the court must order the non-custodial parent’s parenting time to be supervised for not less than one year and not more than two years following the crime or until the child becomes emancipated, whichever comes first.
On August 26, 2013, the Indiana Supreme Court released the latest version of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines apply to all child custody situations and represent the minimum time a non-custodial parent should spend with a child when the parents are unable to reach their own agreement. Parents are encouraged to create their own parenting schedule with reduced or additional parenting time, which is in the best interest of the child.
The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines have general rules to help parents address:
The general rules assist parents in the logistics of making the parenting time run smoothly for the benefit of the child.
In addition, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines set forth specific parenting time provisions for overnight parenting time, infants and toddlers, children three years of age and older, adolescents and teenagers and holiday parenting time. As children get older, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines provide the non-custodial parent with increased parenting time. For example, pursuant to the guidelines, an 8-year-old would spend alternating weekends from Friday at 6:00 PM until Sunday at 6:00 PM, every Wednesday for four hours (possible an overnight), all scheduled holidays and half of summer vacation. By April 1, the non-custodial parent is required to notify the custodial parent of their summer vacation selection. If a selection is not made, the custodial parent shall make the selection and notify the non-custodial parent.
The Indiana Parenting Guidelines also discuss parenting time when distance is a factor. For example, pursuant to the guidelines, an 8-year-old who attends a school with a traditional school calendar would spend seven weeks of school summer vacation, seven days of school winter vacation plus the entire spring break, including both weekends, with the non-custodial parent. By April 1, the non-custodial parent is required to provide their selection for summer vacation.
Parallel parenting is highlighted in the last section of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. This is a deviation from the aforementioned sections of the guidelines and is utilized when parents have exhibited a pattern of high conflict, which places the child’s well-being in jeopardy. Parallel parenting reduces the interaction of the parents until their hostility toward each other is reduced and they are able to work together for the best interest of the child.
Parents are encouraged to create their own parenting time schedules that address their circumstances and their child’s needs. However, if an agreement is not reached the court will create a schedule that is perceived to be in the best interest of the child.
Custody matters can be complicated and emotionally draining. If you are facing divorce and are in need of a lawyer with experience in navigating parenting time disputes, contact Hains Law, LLC.