When you are filing for divorce in Indiana, you will need to have a series of discussions with your attorney and your former spouse about the division of your assets and, if you have children, custody and child support. When determining parenting time, you and your spouse will need to develop a parenting plan with the help of an Indianapolis custody and parenting time attorney in accordance with the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines.
What Are the Parenting Time Guidelines?
When you file for divorce from your spouse, you will need to determine how much time each parent will spend with their children. To do so, you and your former spouse will need to adhere to Indiana’s Parenting Time Guidelines. These Guidelines provide rules for a number of issues surrounding custody and visitation, including the following.
- The visitation schedules for each parent
- The transportation that the children will use to visit each parent
- Any activities that the children are involved in that may impact the visitation schedules
- How each parent will communicate with the children and with each other
- The proper protocol if a parent misses a visitation and wants to make it up
- How the children will receive clothing for the visitation
The goal of these Guidelines is to act in the best interest of the children involved, allowing them to have a meaningful and frequent relationship with each parent in the aftermath of a divorce. In addition, the Guidelines state that you and your former spouse have a responsibility to address and provide for the basic needs of your children, including maintaining a healthy relationship, providing financial support, and keeping the children physically safe and secure.
All child custody situations fall under the Guidelines, with exceptions. If there is a history of family violence or substance abuse, or the parent poses a risk of kidnapping or physical or emotional harm to the child, the Guidelines will not apply.
How Much Time Does Each Parent Get?
In the parenting plan, the Guidelines also define the specific amount of parenting time each child and parent will spend together.
While the exact amount of parenting time you will receive will depend on a number of outside factors, such as previous time spent with the children, the Guidelines recommend the following amounts based on the age of each child.
- If your child is an infant between the ages of 0 to 4 months, your visitation time will be 3 two-hour visits per week, 2 hours on scheduled holidays, and one overnight visit per week if you took care of the child regularly.
- If your child is between 5 and 9 months, your visitation will be 3 three-hour visits per week, 3 hours on scheduled holidays, and one overnight visit per week depending on previous caretaking.
- If your child is between 10 to 12 months, your visitation will be 3 visits per week, 8 hours on a day you do not work and 3 hours each for the two other visits. You will also receive 8-hour visits on scheduled holidays and a weekly overnight visit based on previous caretaking.
- If your child is between 13 to 18 months, you will receive 3 visits per week, 10 hours on a day you do not work and 3 hours on the two other days. You will receive 8-hour visits on holidays and one overnight visit per week, based on previous caretaking.
- If your child is between 19 to 36 months, you can see your children every other weekend for 10 hours on Saturday and Sunday. You can also see your children during the week for a 3-hour period. Your scheduled holiday visits will be 10 hours, and you can turn your visits into overnight stays based on previous caretaking.
- If your child is 3 years or older, you can see your children every other weekend beginning on Friday at 6 pm to Sunday at 6 pm. You can also schedule an evening visit once per week for up to 4 hours, as well as have visitation rights on scheduled holidays.
You will need to schedule your visitations on alternate days of the week – you cannot have your visits on consecutive days.
You can develop a parenting plan with your spouse, or the court will complete one for you. In these situations, you need a lawyer on your side to advocate for your best interests. If you are filing for divorce in Indiana, contact a child custody attorney as soon as possible to assist with these negotiations.