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Parenting Time Guidelines

Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines

Family law specialists serving Fort Wayne and vicinity

The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines center on the premise that it is usually is in a child’s best interests to have frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with each parent. However, when a child’s parents live apart, it might be difficult to achieve that goal. For this reason, the guidelines outline a minimum time the child should have with the noncustodial parent. The minimum time standard does not preclude the parents from reaching an agreement that grants additional parenting time to the noncustodial parent. The guidelines are designed to be applied in all child custody cases except those where domestic violence or other factors create an unsafe environment. At Shilts & Setlak, LLC in Fort Wayne, our legal team is led by a Board-certified Family Law Specialist and staffed by two state-registered family law mediators. We are very familiar with Indiana’s parenting time guidelines, and work tirelessly to establish custody arrangements consistent with their principles.

How is communication covered in parenting time guidelines?

To meet the needs of a child whose parents live apart, communication is key. The guidelines stress that parents should frequently communicate with each other. Each must always know the other’s home and work addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses, and each must communicate any changes in writing to the other. Each parent must respect the child’s right to private communications with the other parent, whether over the telephone, through the mail or electronically. Parents who travel with the child must provide their itinerary and the name of a third party to contact in the event of emergency. If you believe that your co-parent is not abiding by these rules, our firm can help.

Implementation and enforcement  of parenting time

For a parenting time schedule to work, both parents must adhere to ground rules, such as:

  • Parental presence at the “exchange,” or an arrangement with a responsible third party to transport the child from one parent to the other
  • An agreed place of exchange that does not place the entire travel burden on one parent
  • A neutral, public site of exchange for situations where hostility between parents makes going to either home inadvisable
  • The child’s clothes and personal items must be packed and ready, or these items should be in both homes
  • Parents respect each other’s residence, and do not enter unless invited

When disputes arise, judges generally order mediation before hearing a case in court. However, a court can sanction a parent for unjustified violations with:

  • Contempt of court
  • Injunctive relief
  • Criminal penalties
  • Payment of the other parent’s attorney fees

Parents should make every effort to comply with the parenting time order, which has the full force of the law behind it.

Modifications and relocations

The guidelines caution parents that scheduling conflicts can arise, so they must be flexible and willingly make adjustments, as necessary. However, they include several reasons that are not sufficient to cancel or postpone parenting time. In these cases, a parent losing time should be given extra time to compensate.

If, as often happens after a divorce, a custodial parent wants to relocate with the child at a distance that would make the parenting time schedule unworkable, that parent must provide a 30-day advance notice of the intent to move, along with a new proposed parenting plan, which must also be filed with the court. We assist parents seeking relocations as well as those opposing them.

Age-appropriate guidelines

The guidelines recognize that a child’s needs change with maturity. Specific rules are listed for infants and toddlers, children aged three and older, and adolescents and teenagers.

Contact our Fort Wayne family law attorneys for answers on parenting time

Shilts & Setlak, LLC provides knowledgeable counsel on parenting time in the Fort Wayne area. Our office is by the Parkview YMCA off Dupont Road. To schedule a consultation, please call 260-999-5867 or contact us online.

Our Office
  • Fort Wayne Office
    10311 Dawson's Creek Boulevard
    Suite C
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
    Phone: 260-489-0700
    Fax: 260-497-8954
  • Columbia City Office
    116 N. Main Street
    Columbia City, Indiana 46725
    Phone: 260-271-7200
    Fax: 260-497-8954