Changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines were approved by the Indiana Supreme Court. The approved Guidelines will go into effect on March 1, 2013. Here is a link to the Supreme Court Order amending the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines effective 2013. Below is a discussion of the Guidelines.
Importantly, existing parenting time orders in effect on March 1, 2013 shall be enforced according to the parenting time guidelines that were in effect on the date the parenting time order was issued. Also, changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines does not alone constitute good cause for amendment of an existing parenting time visitation order; however, a court or parties to a proceeding may refer to these guidelines in making changes to a parenting time order after the effective date of the guidelines. The commentary to the new Guidelines suggests that parents who agree that current changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are in their child’s best interests should file their written agreement with the court for approval.
There are significant changes to the Guidelines, far too many for one posting. Here is a list of some of the most significant changes:
- The use of calendars and parenting plans is strongly encouraged.
- The Guidelines are the minimum amount of time and not a default: "Because the parenting time guidelines are minimum standards, it is recommended parents and courts not “default” to these guidelines in lieu of a consideration of the best parenting time plan."
- Strongly states that children are not to make parenting time decisions.
- A list of the unacceptable reasons to deny parenting time.
- Clarifying the hierarchy between Summer and Holiday parenting time.
- Requires all notices of Summer parenting time to be given in writing and verbally.
- Suggests access to "technologically advanced communications systems" such as video chat and Skype.
- Sometimes, due to holiday parenting time, a parent may have 3 weekends in a row.
- Fall break, MLK and President's Day are added to the Holiday schedule.
- New Year's Eve and New Year's Day have been dropped from the Holiday Schedule.
- The Winter Break schedule has been redefined and split equally.
- A suggestion that parents split Fall and Spring vacation breaks on balanced school calendars equally.
- Parallel Parenting is introduced. There is a model order for parallel parenting.
- "High Conflict" is defined. Parallel parenting and parenting coordination are offered as resources to assist where "high conflict" persists.