You and your co-parent have a new custody and parenting time order that provides, “Summer parenting time shall be pursuant to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (“IPTG”).”  What does this mean?

It means that the summer break from school should be divided equally, beginning the evening of the last day of school until the night before school resumes. This can be done by dividing the summer in half, or multiple segments.  Many parents use a week-on/week-off schedule rather than one or two chunks of time; however, if one chunk of time is selected for the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent would receive parenting time on alternating weekends and midweek after two consecutive weeks of time.  And the non-custodial parent would continue to receive his or her regular parenting time during the other parent’s half of the summer.  Despite the simplicity in this idea, summer parenting time can cause great conflict between co-parents.  Here’s a checklist of do’s and don’ts that can help you and your co-parent relax this summer:

1.     If you are the custodial parent, DO notify the non-custodial parent of any limitations on your summer parenting time due to employer-restricted vacation times.

2.     If you are the non-custodial parent, DO notify the custodial parent of your selection for summer parenting time by April 1st.

3.     If you are the custodial parent, DON’T arbitrarily reject the proposed summer parenting time unless it actually conflicts with your scheduled holiday or special day parenting time under the guidelines, or the court order.

4.     If you are the custodial parent and do not receive a proposed schedule from your co-parent by April 1st, DO provide your proposed schedule in accordance with your order and the IPTG to your co-parent. This avoids last minute requests to change parenting time or miscommunications as to what the summer schedule is, allowing for both parents to plan and enjoy time with the children without interference or stress.

5.     If you opt to divide the summer equally through a week-on/week-off schedule, DO schedule your weeks with an exchange day on a Friday or Sunday evening.  This permits each parent to put the child in enrichment camps or activities for the week as desired, rather than possibly two separate camps within a week which is disruptive and a waste of each parent’s resources.

6.     DO allocate uninterrupted time for each parent for out-of-town vacations with the children and provide an itinerary of where the child will be staying at least seven days in advance of the travel.

7.     DON’T make reservations for said vacations until the summer parenting plan is agreed.  It’s far costlier to have to cancel and reschedule your flight and hotel than to confirm the schedule and make the correct plans the first time.

8.     DO put your summer plan in writing ideally no later than May 1stso as to ensure that it is in place before school lets out for the summer.

If you and your co-parent are having difficulty creating a schedule for summer break, contact Wanzer Edwards for assistance to make your break enjoyable and worry-free.