As of January 1, 2022, Indiana made changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Many of these changes were necessary due to changes in the world we live in, including technology and problems that arose from the Coronavirus pandemic. If you have an existing parenting time visitation order, you will not have to go back to court to get the order amended to include these changes. The changes are automatically implemented after this date. New parenting time visitation orders will include these specific changes going forward. Here are some of the important changes you need to know about regarding Indiana parenting time guidelines.
Changes to Communication Between Children and the Other Parent
When you do not have physical custody of your child, you may be able to communicate with your child. One of the changes that was made in Indiana has to do with recording. Neither parent can record the conversations between the child and their other parent. Children and parents have a right to privacy. Another major change has to do with electronic devices, such as phones and tablets, and parental communication. A parent may restrict access to items such as phones, tables, and laptops as a form of punishment to the child. However, if a parent is allowed to communicate with their child, the other parent may not prevent the child from those communications. The parent must ensure that communication continues between the child and the other parent.
Parenting Time During a Public Health Emergency
Another major change that was made in the new Indiana parenting time guidelines are changes to the way parenting time is handled during a public health emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic created a lot of issues with parenting time, including what happens if a child has to quarantine or is sick, and what happens if parents disagree on how to best protect their child. The new guidelines provide specific information on what should happen if a public health emergency interferes with business as usual. The guidelines allow the parties to file a joint agreement modifying their custody and parenting time to accommodate public health emergency changes. The guidelines also offer guidance on settling disputes between parents regarding custody, child support, and other changes that may happen as the result of a public health emergency.
Pick Up and Drop Off Changes
The Indiana parenting time guidelines also made many changes to pick-up and drop-offs. One of the changes has to do with using a police station as a place to transfer children. Unless pick-ups and drop-offs are contentious, the courts no longer advocate making drop offs at a police station. It can be an intimidating place for either parent, as well as for the children. However, if there is domestic violence involved or there have been problems during child exchanges, exchanges at a safe place, such as a police station, are still recommended.
The parenting time guidelines also helped create some uniformity to the pickup and drop-off times for holidays and birthdays. Prior to this change, many parents had to set their own times, which created conflict between the parents. There are now uniform times for those days, though both parents can change the times if they both agree.
Lastly, the courts wanted to reduce the potential for third-party conflict when the children are picked up or dropped off. As such, new guidelines pertain to third parties and picking up and dropping off. For example, if your new spouse and your ex-spouse have conflict, the guidelines recommend leaving your new spouse at home to avoid these issues. Minimizing third-party involvement in the pick up and drop off process can help to minimize conflict.
Make-Up Parenting Time
The final notable changes that were made to the 2022 new Indiana parenting time guidelines have to do with make-up parenting time. If a parent misses parenting time for something that is beyond a parents’ control, such as a child having to be quarantined or one parent having military obligations, the parent is entitled to make up parenting time. Make-up parenting time is not designed to reward a parent for missing time due to elements within their control though. The make-up time should be requested by the parent who missed parenting time and should be requested as quickly as possible. The other parent should work with the other parent to coordinate make-up time. The courts recommend having make-up parenting time in blocks of three days or less so both parents can continue to have an ongoing bond with their child. It is important to note though that make-up time cannot be requested during a time that the other party has a special day, such as a holiday or already planned vacation plans.
Navigating shared custody can be challenging for both parents and for the children. You may have many questions about what your rights are, or you may have many concerns about the other party not abiding by a custody order. A lawyer can help to answer any questions you have and ensure that disputes are handled fairly. Here at Trapp Law, LLC, we can assist you with family law matters pertaining to divorce and custody. Contact us today in Indianapolis, IN to learn more or to schedule a consultation.