If neither parent can show that they have no regular care obligations for their child, the noncustodial parent will be entitled to overnights of their child’s time with them. Before the child’s third birthday, if the noncustodial parent has not previously performed regular care obligations, overnight parenting time should not be granted.
Understanding the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines
When one parent has exclusive or primary physical custody, these guidelines make assumptions about the noncustodial parent’s time with the child, the child’s physical and emotional health, and readiness to raise the child. It is also anticipated that they appreciate each other and will collaborate for the child’s benefit. Lastly, the law presumes that both parents are responsible for the child’s upbringing and care. The well-being of children is contingent on their parents’ capacity to assume full responsibility for them during their limited time together as a couple.
If a parent and child do not communicate frequently, they may have no emotional connection. It is advocated that planned parenting time be “phased in” for the benefit of both the parent and child. A current relationship (or lack thereof) between parents and children must be analyzed to establish a parenting schedule. This evaluation can be conducted by a neutral third party, such as an ad litem, a psychiatric professional, or a domestic affairs counseling bureau member.
Parenting time is spent with all children in a family, regardless of their ages. In certain instances, however, not all children will participate in parenting time together due to the specified criteria for a small child, and this should not be overlooked. To preserve sibling relationships, it is generally beneficial to accelerate the transition of younger children into overnight or weekend parental care.
The length of time a child’s parents has lived with the child(ren) is a factor that may affect the child’s regular care obligations (ren). Long-separated parents may not be as familiar with the usual activities and care of their child as they ought to be. One or both parents may be more familiar with their child or children’s daily routine and care if they have dwelt together for some time.
Considerations for Toddlers and Infants
Developing a child’s full potential depends heavily on the first few years of a child’s existence. The primary caregiver gives infants and young children a feeling of security, caring, and regularity that is critical to their well-being. Scheduled parenting time in infancy should cause the least disruption to the baby’s sleep routine possible.
It is crucial to provide a child the time to form a relationship with both parents. A young child thrives if both parents are involved in parenting. Parental involvement correlates positively with the maturation of a child’s social, emotional, and mental faculties, and parenting styles can significantly impact a child’s development. They can be equally effective for both parents. Parents must be adaptable to share both the regular and extraordinary occasions of their child’s early development.
Children have a limited sense of time in infancy and early childhood, but it is evolving. They also have difficulty recalling individuals not immediately in front of them. Regarding infants, shorter, more frequent visits are preferred to longer, less regular visits. The developmental stage of a young child requires daily engagement with both parents. If feasible, it is recommended that no more than two days pass without communication with the noncustodial parent. If a parent cannot visit frequently, they may wish to spend more time with their child, but this is not recommended for infants. The best parenting time is consistent and predictable.
Overnight interaction between parents and children can strengthen family bonds. Therefore, young children may experience fear and distress when their overnight care routines are abruptly altered, especially if these adjustments involve separation from their usual caregiver. Thus, even with extraordinary care, it may be difficult for individuals to rest and heal.
Once a child is accustomed to receiving routine, hands-on care from both parents, this care should persist even after the parents’ divorce. Regardless of who gets primary custody, a parent who frequently cared for the child before the separation should exercise overnight parenting time. Before separation, if a parent has not given their child consistent, hands-on attention, overnight parental time is not recommended until the parent and the child has developed a stable and familiar daily caretaking routine.
Overnight Parenting Times
From birth through 4 months, overnights should, at most, one 24-hour period each week if the noncustodial parent has taken regular care of the child.
For five months through nine, overnights for a maximum of one 24-hour period each week might be considered if the noncustodial parent has regularly cared for the child.
For ages 10 to 18 months, overnights for one 24-hour period each week if the noncustodial parent has routinely fulfilled the child’s needs.
From 19 months to 36 months, the child is to alternate weekends, spending Saturdays and Sundays for ten hours. The child must be returned at least one hour before bedtime unless overnight is appropriate. One “day,” preferably in mid-week for three hours, is also granted. The child is to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime unless overnight during the week is appropriate.
For children three years and older, extending the weekday time to an overnight stay is possible if the noncustodial parent’s dwelling is a fair distance away. The noncustodial parent must feed the child the following day, transport them to school or daycare, or return them to the custodial parent’s home if the child is not in school.
A family law attorney in Indiana is vital for any kind of family dispute. They can advise you as a parent on how to take care of your children if a divorce or separation occurs. Divorce is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. If your family is approaching this life change, hiring a professional attorney to explain your rights and provide excellent legal representation is a crucial step to improving your future.