Visitation rights will always be an emotionally loaded topic. Parents and even grandparents frequently want as much time as possible with their child or grandchild but at the end of the day, it has to be what’s best for the child themselves.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some major changes made to Indiana’s parental visitation rights in 2022, as well as how you can have parental visitation and custody modified. But because everything is often decided by a court on a case-by-case basis, your best bet is to book a consultation.
What are Some of the Key Changes to Parental Visitation?
In 2022, there were some important changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. These changes were largely designed as a response to the changing world, especially during the COVID pandemic.
- An online calendaring tool to make it easier to orchestrate parental visitation and track visitation events.
- Rules regarding how parenting time should be split during a public health emergency, as many arguments spawned out of parents being cautious about the health of their children.
- Changes to drop-off and pick-up. Police stations can no longer be used to transfer children.
- Provisions for parents taking away things like phones or tablets from their child if they misbehave, with the requirement that they then need to provide another method of communication between the parent and the child.
- Specifications that an individual may not record communications between a child and their parent.
- Provisions for how pick-up and drop-off should function during holidays, birthdays, and other unusual events.
- An acknowledgment that communications are occurring more frequently online and through text messaging.
In essence, there were many conflicts based on the way the new world works. Is it OK for someone to take away a child’s phone for punishment? Likely, but what if that’s the only way they have to contact their other parent, then that is likely to be a punishment that courts do not support if it limits a child’s ability to communicate with the other parent.
Since it’s a new world, new rules had to be enacted. These also created new provisions for pick-ups and drop-offs, because during a national health emergency it can be difficult to find someone to conduct a third-party pick-up and drop-off, and it can be difficult to find locations that are suitable.
Other than this, most Indiana visitation schedules and rights have not changed. There have simply been changes to the guidelines used to govern them, with an eye on updating them for the modern world.
Factors that Aid in Determining Whether Additional Parenting Time (above the minimum set forth in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines) is Appropriate
How can you tell whether a shared parenting time schedule is appropriate? There are several factors for a judge to consider when determining whether or not additional parenting time would be in the best interest of your child:
- The child’s physical and mental health needs and schedules;
- The level of conflict between the parties;
- The child’s age, maturity, and developmental needs;
- The child’s own opinion (if the child is old enough to give it;
- If one or both parties are in active military duty; and
- The child’s relationships with siblings, extended family members, peers, and others.
- Whether either parent has a history of domestic or family violence;
- Whether either parent has a history of alcohol and/or substance abuse;
The court takes all of these factors into consideration when determining how much time each party will spend with the child.
How You Can Modify Custody or Parenting Time
If you feel as though you need to modify custody or parenting time, you will need to consult with a professional. Either you can have a parenting plan in place, or you may need to go to court to show that you need to change your current parenting time schedule.
You should be prepared to demonstrate how the modification is in the best interest of the child. Gathering as much evidence as possible to support your request will help your case tremendously.
Remember that the choice of custody or parenting time will always be in the best interest of the child. So, while there may be other issues between you and your co-parent, these are largely irrelevant. Your attorney will guide you toward the best path forward for you and your family.
Contact Trapp Law LLC for Help
If you need legal help with custody concerns, contact Trapp Law LLC. We can help you create a parenting plan, modify custody to meet evolving circumstances, protect your parental rights, and more.
When you schedule your case evaluation with our firm today, we will be happy to answer all of your questions and set you on the right course for ensuring that your child is cared for at all times.