Indiana Custody and Visitation Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.
The Indiana Rules of Court contains rules and pre-designed parenting time schedules that must be used as a foundation when creating a child visitation schedule in the State of Indiana if you want your schedule to be successful.
When creating a child visitation schedule in the State of Indiana, it is important to be familiar with the rules and laws of the state so you can create a visitation schedule in accordance with the requirements of the law.
The Code of Indiana has laws established to protect parents that are sharing the custody or visitation of a child by offering them legal recourse in the event one parent fails to meet the obligations set forth in a parenting agreement.
As interference with custody and visitation rights may be a crime, (Ind. Code § 35-42-3-4), it is very important to create a child visitation schedule that meets the needs of your child and is satisfactory to both parents.
In the State of Indiana, child visitation is referred to as a "parenting time" and they basically mean the same thing.
The terminology was changed in an effort to sound friendlier and to emphasize the importance of the time a parent spends with the child, rather than simply calling it a "visit".
The terms "child visitation schedule" and "parenting time schedule" are herein used interchangeably.
The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are found in the Indiana Rules of Court and were designed by a committee of experts in an effort to provide parents and the court a standard guide to follow when creating parenting plans and parenting time schedules.
The Guidelines were written in such a way as to provide each child with at least the bare minimum requirements the Committee found to be of importance to the child's well-being.
As the Guidelines offer only the minimum acceptable amount of time a child should be permitted to spend with the non-primary or non-custodial parent, you are encouraged to modify the schedules to meet the needs of your child.
Any modification to the Guidelines should be submitted in writing, giving a reason as to the modification, but as long as the modification is made to benefit the child, the court will accept the change(s).
The State of Indiana recognizes that a child benefits from frequent and ongoing contact with both parents and allows that the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines may be modified to provide the child with additional time with the other parent. This is encouraged.
If you want your child to have less than the minimum amount of visitation with the other parent, the visitation time can be reduced only if both parents and the court approve it. You will have to have a good reason for wanting to reduce the amount of visitation time and be prepared to explain it to the court.
The State of Indiana makes the following assumptions when recommending parents follow at least the minimum schedule outlined in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines:
- It is applicable in situations where one parent is a primary custodian
- The schedules are allotting time to the other parent
- Both parents are fit and proper parents
- Both parents have a desire to parent the child
- Both parents are able to cooperate with each other to the extent that they are able to serve the best interests of the child
- Both parents are entitled to parenting time with the child
The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines do not apply in situations where the child may be at risk, such as the presence of domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse, etc.
Yes. The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines contains parenting time schedules for children of all ages and families with different scenarios.
There are schedules for very young infants, toddlers, and school age children, with provisions for young teenagers and teenagers. If you have a young child, you can plan out all of the different schedules in advance (to change as your child grows) or you may include general provisions about how to modify your schedule in the future.
The guidelines provide for situations in which one parent has not yet bonded with a child and/or has not been responsible for the basic care and nurturing of the child in the past, and contains provisions so that the child can adjust to spending time away from the primary parent and acclimate to spending time with the other parent.
It is a good idea to read through the Guidelines to gather the information that will help you make an appropriate schedule for your child and your situation.
Regardless of your child's age, your child visitation schedule should contain:
- A regular parenting time schedule that details the days and time that the child will spend with each parent on a regular, ongoing basis.
- A holiday parenting time schedule provides the child time with each parent for holidays and special occasions and supersedes the regular schedule. For example, if one parent is supposed to have the child on a Sunday, and that Sunday falls on a holiday that the child is scheduled to have with the other parent, the child would spend that day with the parent allocated time on the holiday schedule.
- An extended time schedule that gives the child extra time with the other parent during times such as during summer vacation. If the extended time is more than two weeks, the custodial parent shall assume the parenting time the other parent has scheduled. Any religious holidays that occur during the extended time shall be spent with the parent entitled to the child on the holiday schedule.
The interlacing of the schedules can be complex so it is best to have a clear schedule or calendar prepared in order to avoid conflicts.
You should also keep in mind that parenting time is not only a right, it is a responsibility. As you make your schedule, try to remember that when you are scheduled for parenting time you are expected to have your child during that time and assume complete responsibility for him or her.
Article 31-17, 2-8 specifies that the custody schedule must be made in accordance with the best interest of the child. This is the standard for the state, and you must consider what is best for your child as you make your schedule.
This section of law also outlines some factors that the court considers that affect the welfare of the child:
- The age and sex of the child
- The wishes of the parents regarding custody
- The wishes of the child
- The child's relationship with both parents, siblings, and other important people
- The child's adjustment to home, school, and community
- The mental and physical health of all people involved
- Evidence of domestic or family violence by either parent, or evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian
You know what is best for your child and you should always keep his or her welfare and well-being in mind in all aspects of your custody case.
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