This post is an update of previous posts (here and here and here) which have followed the Domestic Relations Committee as it reviews and revises the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Since the last post the Domestic Relations Committee has published summaries of their meetings occurring in February, March, May and July of 2011. If this topic is of interest to you, I encourage you to read the minutes yourself. There are two items in these minutes that seem important to address in this post.
First, there appears to be a consideration to presume more parenting time for noncustodial parents, and a provision regarding equal parenting time. The minutes do not reveal the details of how the presumption of minimum parenting time would change, or whether the Guidelines will discuss situations where equal parenting time might be presumed, but if these topics are handled in the revised guidelines it would be a major change. This was a hotly argued concern at the public hearing regarding the revisions. I get more comments on my blog regarding the these two issues than any other topic.
Secondly, the minutes reflect that parenting coordination is a concept that will be addressed in the revised guidelines. The committee agreed to draft three rules related to parenting coordination as follows: (1) adopt the parenting time guidelines including provisions about parenting coordination, (2) give parenting coordinators immunity, and (3) require parenting coordinators to meet educational requirements and pay a registration fee. Also, it is worth noting that while the May minutes reflect that the committee supported not allowing a judge to order a parenting coordinator over objection of the parents, the July minutes reflect that the parenting coordination rules will allow a court to order parenting coordination over a parties’ objection. This position is consistent with a recent Court of Appeals case. This is an important issue because disagreement between the parties is one of the main reasons a parenting coordinator is necessary.