Part three of Indiana’s includes what happens when the distance between the two spouses is a major factor when it comes to visitation schedules. In our previous sections, we addressed Parts I and II of Indiana’s parenting time guidelines. In this post, we will discuss what happens when the parents are separated by a significant geographical distance.
Section III of the Parenting Time Guidelines does not specify what constitutes a significant geographical distance necessarily. Instead, they stipulate that the following are all relevant considerations when determining a parenting time schedule. These include:
- Costs to travel
- Each parent’s financial situation
- Employment schedules
- The frequency of parenting time
Section III stipulates that all of the requirements outlined in Section I apply to the parenting time schedule as laid out in Section III. Section III clarifies what happens when geographical distance is a major factor. Specific additional considerations apply when geographical distance is a major factor.
- Summer visitation and enrolled activities – Summer parenting time with a non-custodial parent takes precedence over enrolled summer activities such as Little League when parenting time cannot be scheduled around such events. In these circumstances, a non-custodial parent would have to attempt to enroll their child in an enrolled activity within their own community as opposed to the child’s primary residence.
- Short-term geographic proximity – When the non-custodial parent is in the area where the child generally resides, or, when the child is in the area where the non-custodial parent resides liberal parenting time is allowed. The parents must provide notice to one another as far in advance as possible, of parenting opportunities.
Extended Parenting Time
Extended parenting time is possible over the summer months when the child is not in school. A non-custodial parent who lives at a significant distance from their children can petition for extended parenting time over the summer months. The parent must provide notice to the custodial parent by April 1st of each year. If the parent does not provide notice by April 1st, then the custodial parent has discretion on whether or not the parent is allotted parenting time over the summer.
Sample Parenting Time Schedules When Geographic Distance is a Factor
Section III provides for example parenting time schedules for parents who live far away from each other. These are examples only and parents are allowed to develop alternative schedules for parenting time when necessary.
- Children under the age of 3 – The non-custodial parent would spend up to two five-hour sessions each week with the child at a location in the custodial parent’s community.
- Children ages 3 to 4 – The non-custodial parent would spend up to six one-week sessions with the child each year. Each session would be separated by at least six weeks.
- Children ages 5 and older – For children over the age of 5, the non-custodial parent would have parenting time during the child’s spring break and seven weeks of the child’s summer vacation. They would also be entitled to seven days over winter break. The parents would alternate holidays.
Talk to an Indiana Family Lawyer Today
Chris Arrington represents the interests of those who are attempting to put a visitation schedule together for their children. We can help you through the process and ensure that your children’s best needs are met no matter how far apart you live. Call today to learn more about how we can help.