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Parenting Time when Distance is a Major Factor

Parenting Time when Distance is a Major Factor

There can be many obstacles in the way when determining parenting time for a child with split parents. One common obstacle is significant geographical distance between the two parents. Although that can be a major factor in and of itself, Indiana law is clear and helpful towards assisting parents and children in this situation.

When determining parenting time rights for parents who live far from each other, the courts are guided by the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, which is under the Indiana Rules of Court umbrella. In addition to specific rules that set out how parenting time should take place, there is also commentary that provides guidance in applying the rules. The main Section of the guidelines that is applicable to geographical distance between parents is Section III, Parenting Time when Distance is a Major Factor. Overall, this Section allows a lot to be determined between the parents themselves. Although the Section at the beginning lays out factors to consider when determining parenting time in a long-distance situation, parents should consider all relevant information when discussing parenting time, not just those listed in this Section. With that said, the factors listed include the employment schedule of the parents, costs and time of travel, the financial situation of each parent, and more.

The commentary that is laid out in addition to the Section gives suggestions on what may be helpful, depending on the age of the child. When a child is under the age of 3, the commentary suggests that the non-custodial parent should be able to exercise parenting time up to two five-hour periods for each week. With a child at either 3 or 4 years of age, it is advised that the non-custodial parent should have up to six one-week segments per year with the child. Lastly, when the child is 5 years or older, the commentary recommends that the non-custodial parent should have up to 7 weeks of summer vacation with the child, plus a week during winter break and the entire spring break. Again, the commentary is merely a suggestion; however, when parents have the obstacle of geographical distance between themselves, having suggestions can be an area to begin discussions on parenting time. The commentary also provides guidelines for when the child attends a school with a year-round or balanced calendar rather than the traditional school calendar of extended summer breaks.

The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines touches on other aspects of parenting time and is a helpful tool that split parents should utilize. Other questions concerning parenting time such as requirements when a custodial parent moves, holiday parenting time guidelines, and more can be found in other blog posts on the McNeelyLaw website. If you are having parenting time problems because of geographical distance or otherwise, contact McNeelyLaw today.

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.

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