If you are divorced and have children, you know that determining parenting time can be a stressful and difficult process. Many parents take a summer vacation with their children before school begins in the Fall, but divorce can sometimes put a strain on what is meant to be a fun, family event. Indiana courts encourage divorced parents to take family vacations, but there are special rules under the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (“Guidelines”) divorced parents should follow when scheduling a vacation. However, if they choose, parents may agree in writing on a different summer schedule or terms than that suggested in the Guidelines.
If you and your ex-spouse share joint custody, your parenting time is based on certain variables such as including legal custody arrangements and the designation of custodial and noncustodial parent. Legal custody concerns the rights of the parent in making important decisions for their children regarding healthcare, education, religion, etc. In any divorce, one parent is designated as the custodial parent and one as the noncustodial parent. The custodial parent has primary physical custody of the children, meaning the children live with that parent most of the time. The noncustodial parent still exercises significant parenting time with the children, but the children do not live with the noncustodial parent on a regular basis.
Under the Guidelines, summer vacation begins the day after the children’s last day of school and ends the day before the children’s first day of school. In Indiana, if you have joint custody of your children, the custodial parent has more control over summer parenting time and vacations. If you are the noncustodial parent, you must submit your desired summer parenting time or vacations to the custodial parent verbally and in writing by April 1. If the summer schedule is timely submitted by the noncustodial parent, the custodial parent may not reject the schedule offered by the noncustodial parent. Otherwise, the custodial parent has priority in choosing the summer parenting schedule. If you plan on vacationing out of state for the summer, you must notify the other parent when and where you will be taking the children. Additionally, your typical parenting time schedule exercised during the academic year does not exist in the summer unless one parent has the children for more than two consecutive weeks.
It is also important to note that, according to the Guidelines, parents with children age five or older are entitled to split the summer parenting time evenly, unless otherwise agreed upon. The summer parenting time can be divided into two consecutive halves, every other quarter, or every other week. Per the Guidelines, if a parent is scheduled to have the children on a summer holiday such as Memorial Day, Father’s Day, or Independence Day, but the holiday falls on the other parent’s parenting time, the parent whose holiday it is shall have custody for that holiday regardless of whose part of the summer it is to have the children.
If you have questions regarding your summer parenting schedule, please call (317) 825-5110 to speak with one of our experienced family law attorneys.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.