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Holiday Parenting Time

Published in Family Law on October 2, 2015.

As the holidays are right around the corner you’ll want to make sure that you understand what your rights and responsibilities are in relation to your parenting time. The first thing you’ll want to look at is your court order on parenting time. This will be the document most relied upon to determine what you need to do. Remember that your case is specific to you so you should consult an attorney regarding the issues and questions you’re having. What follows are some general tips however you may find helpful in resolving some holiday stress:

  1. If you can agree to some parenting time and exchanges, that’s great. Unless your court order says you cannot deviate or change, you can.
  2. Know whether you are the “custodial” or “non-custodial” parent. This is a designation used by the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Your order likely references these and they are linked here. If you cannot agree then you will have to refer to your court order.
  3. Depending on the age of your child, your holiday parenting time is likely to vary. Younger children will have shorter periods with the non-custodial parent. Teenagers may have activities over the holidays with their friends. You’ll want to account for these issues in your holiday arrangements
  4. Plan now for exchanges with your co-parent so that you have everything set well in advance of the holidays.
  5. Enjoy the holidays, they’re only this age once.

So what happens if you find out the other party doesn’t want to follow the court order or otherwise share parenting time during the holidays?

  1. The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines allow for the enforcement of parenting time through a contempt petition. This essentially means you are prosecuting the law of your individual case, and asking the court to award you some remuneration.
  2. That doesn’t replace the time you lost. That’s absolutely correct. You can file an injunction if you’re aware ahead of time that the violation is intended. These require you to prepare an affidavit as well as list the irreparable injury if the other party persists in the act. This can be a tough burden to overcome however it may also prompt the other party to be more flexible in their approach.

Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines Holidays for 2014

Thanksgiving:

This year Thanksgiving will be spent with the non-custodial parent from Wednesday at 6:00 through Sunday at 6:00.

Christmas Break:

2 hours after release from school through the half-way point of the break according to the child’s school calendar will be with the Custodial parent. The non-custodial parent will have the second half of the break through 6:00 p.m. on the day before the child returns to school.

Christmas Day:

The non-custodial parent will have Christmas Day this year from noon through 9:00 p.m.

New Year’s Day:

Under the 2013 Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, this date is not a holiday and no special accommodations are made for it. Accordingly, it will be spent with the non-custodial parent.

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