The courts and the laws in Indiana recognize that children need healthy relationships with each parent, and the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines help parents foster these relationships. The Guidelines speak to "parenting time" instead of "visitation" in an effort to emphasize that the non-custodial parent is a parent, not just a visitor.
The Guidelines address general issues, such as telephone contact, make-up time, transportation, extra-curricular activities and similar questions that parents have with shared parenting plans. They also provide for very specific parenting time based on the child's age. There is also a section to provide guidance when distance between parents is a major factor.
My view is that the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are a good starting point in most circumstances. With many families, the Guideline parenting time plan works perfectly fine. It is important to recognize, however, that each family is unique, and the Guidelines may not address the specific needs of the parents or the children. I strive to work with my clients to develop a parenting time plan that best addresses the issues at hand.
For example, in some settings, contact between the child and a parent may not be best, such as when a parent is abusive or incompetent to care for a child due to substance abuse or mental health challenges. In these situations, courts endeavor to serve the best interests of the child by reaching an appropriate balance between the needs of a child related to the compromised parent, and the clear need to provide the child with a safe and healthy environment.
You can review the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/parenting/
I would be happy to evaluate your case if give me the opportunity. Simply schedule an appointment with me, Attorney Julie R. Glade, by calling (219) 576-6194 or toll-free (888) 341-8044 or by filling out the Contact Us form on this web site. From my law office in Merrillville, I serve clients throughout Lake County and Porter County in Northwest Indiana.