Divorced or unwed parents with school-age children can expect their parenting time to work differently during the Summer than while the children are in school unless they have previously been ordered otherwise. Typically, Indiana courts order the non-custodial parent to receive more parenting time during the Summer because the children are out of school and have more time to spend with family. Giving the non-custodial parent additional Summer parenting time allows both parents to take time off from work to go on family vacations with their children and to spend more time with the children in general. This blog post will lay out several things parents should be aware of as they plan their schedules heading into the Summer months.
Parenting time is determined by either the parents themselves or a family court. In Indiana, courts enforce parenting plans created by the parents themselves so long as they are reduced to writing, signed by both parents, and filed with the court for approval. If the parents cannot agree to a plan, either parent can request the assistance of the court in establishing one. The court will look to the provisions set forth in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines for guidance in outlining a parenting plan that supports the best interests of the child. The Guidelines represent the minimum recommended time a parent should have to maintain frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with their child.
The Guidelines recommend that the parents of children aged five and older each receive parenting time equal to one-half of the days the child is on Summer vacation. This time may be either consecutive or split into two different segments. For purposes of calculating this time, a child’s Summer vacation begins the day after their last day of school in the Spring, and ends the day before their first day of school in the Fall. Each parent is responsible for providing notice to the other parent of any restrictions their employer places on their Summer vacation time as soon as that information is available. The non-custodial parent is given first preference as to what schedule he or she wants so long as they give notice of their selection to the custodial parent by April 1 of each year. If the non-custodial parent fails to give notice by April 1, the custodial parent has the right to choose the schedule they want during the Summer. They must still allow the non-custodial parent to have half of the days with the child. Notice must be given both verbally and in writing.
When one parent is enjoying their scheduled parenting time during the Summer, the other parent will typically still have parenting time with the child on weekends and holidays. During periods of the Summer where the child is with one parent more than two consecutive weeks, the other parent will be allowed the same parenting time the non-custodial parent gets during the school year. There is an exception to this if distance created by out-of-town vacations makes it impracticable to give parenting time to the other parent. Additionally, the Summer parenting time schedule will not interfere with either parent’s parenting time on holidays that fall during the Summer. The parent who has parenting time with the child on a Summer holiday will not lose it simply because it falls during the other parent’s Summer parenting time unless both parents agree to this arrangement.
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.