Unless your Court Order states otherwise, if you are a “non-custodial” parent, you are coming up on the April 1st deadline to elect your summer parenting time as stated in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Failure to elect your one-half of the summer break by April 1st means that the custodial parent gets to set the summer schedule without your input!

For children ages 5 and older, the non-custodial parent is to select his or her one-half of the summer break no later than April 1st of each year, both in writing and verbally. Summer parenting time may be scheduled in one or two segments, distance permitting. As a practical matter and whenever possible, summer parenting time should also be selected to correspond with the Memorial Day holiday (if the children are out of school by that date) or the July 4th holiday so that the parent who has each holiday has the one-half of the break in which the holiday falls. For 2013, the custodial parent will exercise parenting time during the Memorial Day holiday and the non-custodial parent will exercise parenting time during the July 4th holiday. This time should also be scheduled to accommodate a parent’s work schedule to permit the most quality time with the child. Both parents are responsible to provide transportation for the child to mandatory school-related functions, such as summer school or mandatory summer practices such as for football or band.

For children ages 3 and 4, the non-custodial parent may have 4 non-consecutive weeks throughout the year, which do not necessarily have to be during the summer. Regardless, the non-custodial parent shall provide 60-days’ notice of the selected week. It may be practical for the parent to elect all 4 weeks at the same time to permit both parents to create work, vacation and child-care schedules.

During summer parenting time, if the block of time exceeds two weeks, the custodial parent gets to have some parenting time, distance permitting. This means, for example, that if Mom normally has parenting time every other weekend until Monday morning and every Wednesday overnight during the school year, Dad will have that same schedule during Mom’s summer parenting time and vice versa.

Confusion and conflict can arise if summer/extended parenting time conflicts with holidays and “special days” like birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. As a reminder, summer parenting time takes precedence over regular parenting time. Holidays or Special Days — such as July 4th weekend or Father’s Day weekend — take precedence over summer parenting time. The newly revised Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (effective March 1, 2013) also provide that when a child’s birthday falls within a holiday or Special Day, it will be celebrated with the parent who has that holiday or Special Day for that year. When a parent’s birthday falls within a holiday or Special Day, the holiday or Special Day takes precedence over the birthday.

If you are confused about your parenting time schedule and the looming April 1st deadline, contact Wanzer Edwards, PC for more information specific to your family.