Published in Family Law by Chris Eskew on July 3, 2023.
Note: the following blog article was updated in July 2023.
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New 2022 and 2023 Parenting Time Guidelines
When you divorce or separate from the parent with whom you share a child, navigating issues such as parenting time can feel difficult and overwhelming. The best way to protect your family’s well-being is to consider your child’s needs and development. It is also important to consider your family’s lifestyle.
The updates to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines include amendments made effective in 2022 and consider issues like technology, access communication with both parents, and Public Health Emergencies. They only apply to parenting orders issued after January 1, 2022, including new modifications.
Based on the importance of nurturing a child’s relationship with both parents, the updated guidelines allow the court to approve plans for shared parenting. Rather than outlining each parent’s separate responsibilities as “parallel parenting,” the shared parenting plan considers a “seamless,” high level of engagement by both parents. For the court to determine the capacity for a shared parenting structure, it may consider many factors, including but not limited to the following:
- The amount of joint work needed from both parents to raise the child;
- The child’s ability to benefit from shared parenting;
- The parent’s motivations, interest in raising a family, and relationship with the child;
- Interest and involvement shown by each parent in the raising of the child;
- The parent’s relationship with each other, including their ability and history related to the potential success of the co-parenting relationship; and
- The child’s environment in each family’s home and extended family.
The ultimate goal of shared parenting is to encourage the strongest bond possible between the child and both parents and to strengthen the co-parenting relationship between the parents for the benefit of the child.
Communication Between Children and the Other Parent
When a child is with one parent for parenting time, the IPTG states that the other parent is entitled to reasonable contact with the child. Communications can include e-mail, text messages, faces, cards, letters, packages, and phone calls. Neither parent is permitted to block or unreasonably deny communications between the other parent and the child. In addition, recording a child’s communications with the other parent is considered unacceptable interference.
Make-Up Parenting Time
The new updates to Indiana family law acknowledge that parenting plans may need to change without warning, especially in light of public health emergencies. Under the updates, parents can ask for “make-up” time if they miss their parenting time for reasons beyond their control. But the reasons that justify make-up time must be involuntary and beyond the parent’s control. For instance, if a parent voluntarily takes a vacation or participates in other activities that interfere with their parenting time, they are not entitled to make-up time. And any potential changes to the parenting time schedule must be communicated to the other parent as far in advance as possible. In addition, make-up time cannot interfere with holidays, special days, or previously planned events.
Refinements to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines for Holidays
Under the guidelines, a holiday parenting schedule applies to special days and holidays for children and can be further distinguished based on the age of the child. Section II(F) of the IPTG provides the holiday, extended, and special days schedule and includes more specific provisions on carrying out the holiday parenting time schedule.
Need to Talk to Someone Right Away? Call Eskew Law Today!
At Eskew Law, we understand the sensitive nature of family law matters and strive to make the process go as smoothly as possible for all parties involved. Our attorneys will help simplify the process and guide you through the new Indiana parenting time guidelines. We can help you develop a parenting schedule that is rewarding for both you and your children.
Let our highly-skilled lawyers help you and your family use the legal process to reach the ideal schedule. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a brighter future.