Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines aim to help establish agreements for divorcing parents that provide for the specific needs and circumstances of their children. With few exceptions, the state holds that it is in the best interests of children to have meaningful, frequent, and ongoing interaction with both parents. Built on this premise, the guidelines set forth a model, which parents may adjust to best suit their children and families.
Developing Parenting Time Plans in Indiana
The first section of the Parenting Time Guidelines includes provisions for communicating, exchanging information, putting the agreement into effect, making changes to scheduled parenting time, resolving conflicts, and handling relocations. The state’s guide specifies that parents should not use their children as go-betweens or spies; that they should remain respectful when talking about each other in their children’s presence; that they must share any information obtained from their child’s school or health care providers, about school activities, or about other events that allow family and parental participation. Under the guidelines, each parent has an obligation to comply with the parenting plan. However, parents may work together to reach amicable resolutions when issues arise that require them to make changes. Parents should attempt to resolve disputes themselves or through options such as mediation before taking legal action.
The guidelines also contain special considerations for overnight parenting time, holidays, and the unique needs of various age groups. For example, the state’s guide specifies that parenting time for infants should be scheduled in a way that will cause minimal disruption to babies’ schedules. Likewise, the Parenting Time Guidelines specify that parenting time schedules for teenage children should account for their involvement in social, academic, and extracurricular activities. While detailed, the provisions generally allow parents to adjust as necessary to suit the needs and interests of their children.
The court may recommend that parents deviate from the state’s guidelines and instead use a parallel parenting plan in cases when the significant conflict between them risks the well-being of the child. Through this method, each parent makes the day-to-day decisions regarding their children when they are with them and parents have limited communication with one another. The court may suggest parallel parenting in cases when the parents constantly argue, display chronic distrust of and anger toward each other, and lack the ability to communicate and cooperate for the care of their children.