In our previous post, we discussed some of Indiana’s parenting time guidelines. In this post, we will begin where we left off and discuss the second section of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines rules. Section II of the guidelines addressed unique considerations for children in different age groups, overnight parenting time, and holidays. These provisions only apply when one parent has sole custody of the children.
Overnight Parenting Time
Until the third birthday of a child, parenting time should include overnight visits unless the custodial parent can demonstrate that the non-custodial parent has not had regular responsibilities of care over the child. This means that the court favors overnight parenting time for a non-custodial parent as it defaults on the rule that having both parents in the child’s life is preferable to only having one.
Indiana’s parenting time guideline provides specific rules when a child is under or over the age of 3. During infancy, a parenting schedule should be “minimally disruptive” to the child’s routine. If the child is over the age of four months, but less than three years, parenting should consist of three non-consecutive two-hour visits per week. This also includes two hours on scheduled holidays and one 24-hour overnight visit. These guidelines become increasingly complex the older the child gets.
There are also specific rules for children who are between the ages of 3 and 4 or over 5 years of age. Parents are afforded significantly more leeway when it comes to adolescent children and teenagers. The guidelines indicate that a non-custodial parent would receive alternating weekends, scheduled holidays, and extended visits during the summer months when school is out. In terms of teenagers, a non-custodial parent should make a reasonable effort to accommodate the teenager’s regular schedule. This includes academic, extracurricular, and social activities.
Understanding the Rules
Indiana sets forth certain guidelines or default situations that should be employed when determining parenting time for a non-custodial parent. Remember, all of the provisions laid out in this section relate to a situation where one parent has sole custody. The rules set forth how a non-custodial parent should have access to their children depending on what age group they fall into. The older the child gets, the more flexibility parents have when scheduling parenting time.
The Indiana courts default on the notion that regardless of which parent has custody, it is always best for both parents to be in the child’s life. The rules skew toward the mother in the younger years of a child’s life. However, as the child grows, the visitation schedule can be amended to reflect the interests of the father. Non-custodial parents still have the right to visit their children. However, these rights are different based on the age of the child. A Danville, IL, divorce lawyer can help you draft a visitation schedule that makes sense for you.
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