Divorce or legal separation can be very difficult on the entire family, especially on minor children of divorcing spouses. The state of Indiana has a number of guidelines in place designed to ensure that joint child custody arrangements do not create additional stress on children, but give them the opportunity to grow with and enjoy the care of both their parents. Let’s take a quick look at some key areas of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines.
1. Arranging Visitation Times
Joint child custody arrangements typically designate one “custodial” and one “non-custodial” parent. The custodial parent is the primary caretaker of the children, while the non-custodial parent gets parenting time which is determined either by agreement or by court order. Both parents should work together to develop a parenting arrangement that allows children to spend quality time with both parents. Parents are also responsible for transporting children and arranging visits in a timely and punctual manner.
2. Changing Parenting Times
Your child custody agreement should be followed the majority of the time. In certain cases, or if the current child custody arrangement is no longer sufficient, the agreement can be changed to better accommodate parents and children. Parenting time should be viewed as both a right and a responsibility, so parents must work together to make necessary adjustments. “Make-up” time can be implemented in the event that temporary changes must be made to the normal agreement.
3. Constant Communication
It is essential that parents are clearly communicating about potential changes to the arrangement, residence or contact information, or travel plans regarding the children (also keep in mind that parents involved in a divorce or paternity obligation have a duty to notify the court if they intend to move). Each parent should always know about significant events that take place with the other parent. Open, reasonable communication should exist between both parties.