Published in Family Law on June 5, 2018.
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Help Managing Parenting Time in Indiana
Parenting time disputes often boil down to two people with differing views on what is best for their children.
While a parent might see this as an attempt by the other to dominate or control their life through children, it is often, to the third party (see the court), a dispute which parties may reasonably resolve by looking at different schedules than the minimum alternating weekends.
And, increasingly the alternating weekend minimum as laid out in the Indiana Parenting Time Guideline is being dispensed with by the courts.
What you’ll find are various parenting time schedules which are regularly ordered by the courts – they can be downloaded in pdf form by clicking here. The idea behind these calendars is that parenting time during the school year is routine and predictable. This allows the children to focus more on school and less on their whereabouts. These calendars don’t include breaks for holidays and special days. And, unless you don’t exercise parenting time over the summer break as described in the guidelines, these won’t be much help for June, July and some parts of August. Specifically, though, each calendar has their own advantages and disadvantages and those vary by the individual children and parents.
Determining Which Calendar is Best for You
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking at these schedules and considering the change:
The schedule has to work for your children. If they’re involved in activities outside of school and then have homework piled on them, it may not be practical to make exchanges throughout the week. Also, keep in mind that you’re going to parent differently than the other parent so there’s an adjustment that children go through when changing houses. These adjustments can have an emotional impact and lead to exhaustion. The older your children, typically the easier the adjustment. Keep this in mind when looking at schedules.
The schedule has to work for you. If you’re working 3rd shift, while the other parent is working 1st, don’t expect to have a lot of midweek overnights. That’s just not practical since you won’t be in the house. Likewise, if you’re available during the day while the other parent works, you should be seeing more time with your children then.
The child support benefit received for additional parenting time doesn’t change child support significantly enough to defray the costs. Under one scenario a two-child family with the non-custodial parent making $1500 per week and the custodial parent making $1000 per week saw the parenting time credit go from $68 / week to $105 / week. While $37/week may seem substantial, the change from $267/wk to $230/wk in total obligation was not changed by the requisite 20%. Frequently people argue that the only reason that the other wants more parenting time is an increase/decrease in child support. While this may be true, there’s an increase/decrease, the costs of feeding the children during parenting time (especially teenagers) are costlier than the reduction in support.
Keep in mind that the courts are likely to use a logical progression in increasing parenting time weighing things like proximity to each other, proximity to schools, involvement with the children over time, and to some small part the desires of the children to determine the best interests of the children in modifying these orders.
Lastly, if you’re using one of these calendars already, it is very helpful to print them off and fill them in. Add your special days, holidays and vacations to them. We did not label as months so that you can print them off and use no matter what time of year it is.
Click any calendar to download the pdf, or download all of them here.
Indiana Parenting Time Minimums
Sunday & Midweek Overnight
5 2 2 5
2 2 3
Hopefully, these calendars help you sort out parenting time issues and plan for the coming months, or help you negotiate the parenting time waters. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have questions or would like to investigate changing your parenting time schedule. Our attorneys would be happy to discuss your case, give us a call or reach out online.