All Things Family Law

Discussion of all things related to family law from an Indiana divorce attorney.

This blog provides general family law and divorce law information. If you have a specific issue or case you need assistance with please contact me directly. 

Filtering by Category: parenting coordination

Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines 2013

Changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines were approved by the Indiana Supreme Court.  The approved Guidelines went 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. 

To discuss this please contact me. To see all of my postings on this topic search here


New Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines 2012 - Equal Parenting Time and Parenting Coordination Provisions

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. 

Parenting Coordination, Model Rules, Part 1 - Indiana Custody Law

We've written about parenting time coordinators, or parenting coordination before.  Parenting coordination is evolving in Indiana.  The New Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines will likely include references to parenting coordination.   Just this past year a Court of Appeals case held that a parenting time coordinator may my be ordered upon parents, even where one of the parents objects.  The Domestic Relations Committee and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana have released Model Rules and a Model Order for parenting coordination.  They are accepting comments until May 26, 2011.

The proposed rules define parenting coordinator as: "an impartial third party qualified under these rules, who is appointed by the court to assist parties in resolving issues and recommending solutions to disputed issues relating to parenting in any action for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, paternity, or guardianship where a minor child is involved."

The proposed rules provides that following persons may qualify as a parenting coordinator:

  • The Parenting Coordinator shall at all times be a registered Indiana domestic relations mediator.
  • The Parenting Coordinator shall be a licensed mental health provider as defined at Ind. Code § 31-33-25-4, with a minimum of a master’s degree in a mental health or related field, or an attorney licensed to practice law in Indiana with substantial family law practice experience.  
  • The Parenting Coordinator shall have at least five years experience in their profession with high conflict or litigating parents.  
  • The Parenting Coordinator shall have training in the parenting coordination process, family dynamics in separation and divorce, parenting coordination techniques, domestic violence and child maltreatment.  The training shall consist of a minimum of twenty hours of Indiana Supreme Court Commission for Continuing Legal Education approved parenting coordinator training, to include at least five hours of domestic violence training. 
  • A Parenting Coordinator shall maintain professional competence in the parenting coordination process.  A Parenting Coordinator may participate in peer consultation or mentoring to receive feedback and support on cases.  

The model rules address other aspects regarding how a parenting coordinator must practice.  We will summarize those in future posts. 

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