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What are Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines?

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The guidelines for parenting time in Indiana give some direction on how the court will implement parenting time and what facts the court will consider when making a parenting plan. Generally, they will look to the child's best interests and create a peaceful and safe environment.  

Indiana law promotes a child to have a positive and meaningful relationship with both parents, and the Guidelines reflect that sentiment. The guidelines ensure that the kids' basic needs are met and accommodate comfortable transitions to the other parent or custodian. Different guidelines may apply in situations where there is substance abuse or domestic violence.  Keep reading this article from our Indiana family attorney to get an overview of Indiana Parenting Law and how these different situations may apply

Parent Communication with Child

A parent and child have the right to communicate by telephone, text, email, and even old-fashioned snail mail. The child should be free to have private conversations and communication without interference from the other parent. However, communications should be at reasonable times and for a reasonable duration. Children are encouraged to communicate with their parents frequently to promote a positive relationship.  

How do I Implement Parenting Time?

The parent that will be spending the next time with the child should pick the child up. Children should be dropped off by the actual parent and left at the residence entrance unless they are invited inside.  

In situations where there is a hostile environment between the parents, a public place or somewhere neutral is preferred. The parties should be punctual at the exchange, and they should alert the other parents if they are going to be late.  

The parent in custody should send clothing with the child on visitation. The other parent should then return the clothing with the child.  

Parents should be flexible with each other if there needs to be a change in parenting time. Life happens, and modifications will need to take place. Both parents should be sure to enable the child to have regular and frequent visits with the other parent, even when adjusting for changes in the schedule.  Often, not every parenting time schedule is easy to determine. To learn more about your rights as a Parent read our article Custody and Parenting Rights of Unmarried Fathers.

Generally, the set parenting time schedule should be followed when possible. Alternate childcare should be provided when a parent cannot supervise their children on their set days.  

What if Parenting Time Changes?

Changes may need to be made to parenting time when the regular routine is interrupted by work, trips, military duty, etc. Parents should be amenable to these changes and work with the other party to find suitable make-up time as soon as possible.  

When one parent needs childcare, they should offer the other the ability to watch the child and have extra parenting time.  

School Records, Health Information, and Kid's Activities

Both parents have the right to access school records. Parents shall not interfere with the other's communication ability with the school. Each parent should promptly share all information the other parent may not be privy to.  

Parents should share information regarding the child's activities when only one has access to the information. They should also inform others of events that welcome family participation. Health information should also be shared. If needed, a disclosure must be signed for both parents to access the child's information. If the child is on medication, the custodial parent should supply the medications for the non-custodial parent visitation.  

Disagreements About Parenting Time

Generally, parents are encouraged to work out the issue outside of court. If needed, they can participate in mediation. Both parents must comply with scheduled visitation even if the child is hesitant to spend time with one party.  

If a child refuses to see a parent before 18, that child should be encouraged to see the parent. The parents should listen to the child, try to understand, and ensure their safety isn't compromised. Family Counseling may be necessary, and if needed, they can request court assistance.  

What Happens with Parenting Time During a Public Emergency?

During a public emergency, all court orders and parenting time shall stay in place. Still, parents should be flexible and work with one another on providing the best situation for their child or children.  

Parents should make child support payments in the same manner without interruption. Payments can be made online, and papers may be filed online. If needed, a petition to modify support can be filed.  

Specific Provisions Regarding Parenting Time

The following areas of the guidelines assume that one custodial parent and a non-custodial parent will be exercising parent time. The court prefers a parenting schedule that is best suited for the child and can be worked out by the parents without court intervention.  

When distance is an issue between the parties, a regular parenting schedule shall be adhered to. The parties should make an effort to create a reasonable one.    

Factors that will be considered when drafting a parenting schedule are:  

  • Factors related to the child  
  • Factors related to the parent  
  • Factors related to the parent-child relationship  
  • Factors relating to the co-parenting relationship  
  • Environmental factors  

What is Overnight Parenting Time?

Parenting time shall include overnights unless the non-custodial parent has not been fulfilling their regular responsibilities for the child. If that parent has not provided regular care for the child overnight, visits will not occur if the child is under three years old. Also, overnights are not provided to the non-custodial parent in early infancy.  

Parenting Time in Early Infancy (up to 9 months)

Babies under four months old can be seen by the non-custodial parent three non-consecutive days a week for up to 2 hours. At 4 to 9 months, the babies can be seen for three consecutive days but up to 3 hours. And the child should be returned an hour before their scheduled bedtime.    

Parenting Time for Infants and Toddlers

The time during infancy should be the least disruptive to the infant's schedule and bonding with the primary caregiver. Parenting time up until three ranges from 3 non-consecutive days a week, including a non-workday. Holidays are scheduled, and eventually, overnights can occur when appropriate.  

Parenting Time for Children Ages 3 and up

Parenting time at this age is every other weekend, starting at 6 pm on Friday and ending at 6 pm on Sunday. Also, one night a week, preferably in the middle, for up to 4 hours. This timing can vary due to the parents' work schedules.  

What is Parenting Time Holiday Schedule?

The respective parent gets custody of the child on special occasions such as Mother's Day, Father’s Day, and the parents' birthday. The holidays and school vacations are broken up by odd and even-numbered years whereby the parents will alternate. The child's birthday is again alternated.  

Can we do Shared Parenting?

Shared parenting is when the parents feel they can rear their child or children successfully together, and both parents can be involved in their child's daily interactions and raising. The child splits their time between the two homes and should feel each home is their residence.  

Parenting Coordination for Disputes about Parenting Time

In highly disputed cases, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator to help resolve issues and focus on the child. The coordinator has many responsibilities, including writing a report to the court with recommendations.  

This article provided an overview of parenting time in Indiana. Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand more the nuisance of how your rights to parenting time applies.  Contact one of our experienced lawyers at (630) 324-6666 to help you through the situation.    

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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