Effective March 1, 2013, the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are changing! Court orders about parenting time which are in place in place prior to March 1st shall continue to follow the old version of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. However, parents who agree that the new guidelines are better for their family may file a written agreement with the Court and are encouraged to accept some or all of the changes, as needed.

The guideline changes of note are as follows:

  1. A schedule different than the schedule contained in the Guidelines – An order or agreement for a parent to spend LESS time with his or her children than the schedule contained in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines must provide a written explanation for doing so; however, a Court is not required to provide a written explanation for ordering MORE than the recommended guideline parenting time.
  2. An excuse won’t do — Commentary provides a list of unacceptable excuses for denying parenting time and prohibits children from making a decision about parenting time.
  3. Obtaining school and health information – Each parent should call the school or doctor to get school and health information instead of waiting for the other parent to provide it. However, the guidelines still require parents to provide notice to the other parent regarding the child’s events and activities no matter which child will have parenting time during the activity.
  4. Parents are encouraged to be in control — Parents are encouraged to create their own schedules that are in the best interests of their individual child/children and are also encouraged to create year-long schedules that incorporate all holidays, special days and regular parenting time.
  5. Summer Vacation — The guidelines are more specific in this area and provide for balanced calendar school scheduling.
  6. Holiday Schedule — The guidelines now clarify what happens if there is a conflict between a birthday and a holiday or Christmas vacation, etc. In addition, the guidelines create one Winter/Christmas break holiday rather than a separate holiday for New Year’s Eve. The holidays also now include Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day and Fall Break.
  7. Parallel Parenting — An entire section is devoted to parallel parenting for very high-conflict parents who engage in a pattern of ongoing litigation, anger, distrust and inability to communicate about and cooperate in the care of the child. A sample order is included.

Parents who have questions or may be interested in using some of the new parts of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines in their parenting relationships should contact Wanzer Edwards, PC, an Indianapolis family law firm for more information. Wanzer Edwards, PC will be answering your questions in a live chat on Facebook regarding parenting time and the changes to the guidelines. “Like us” on Facebook for scheduling information.