Written by attorney Justin R Key

New Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines went into effect on March 1, 2013

New Parenting Time Guidelines are now in place for divorced and separated parents in the state of Indiana. The Indiana Guidelines are commonly used by courts and judges in the Hoosier state to help parents in planning for time sharing arrangements with children in child custody, paternity, divorce or legal separation cases. The rules generally represent the minimum time that a mother or father should have to establish meaningful contact with a child. Scheduling parenting time is generally more difficult when a family separates into multiple households, and communication between parents is key. While the Guidelines will be used in Indiana, many provisions could apply in parenting time disputes across the nation. For example, other family court systems, such as those just across the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, have only basic guidelines that do not touch on co-parenting issues that require more discussion. The new regulations include links to other states for additional guidance for separating or divorcing couples. The Guidelines choose the use of the term "parenting time" over other commonly used phrases in family law disputes, such as "child visitation." Family courts can modify the parenting model provided by the rules if a particular case has unique circumstances or a child has special needs. Significant revisions to the Guidelines include provisions regarding electronic communication, as parents increasingly use text messaging, email or social media (such as Facebook) to communicate regarding their child. The modifications also make clarifications regarding overnight and holiday schedules, and that under Indiana law both parents are entitled to direct access to their child's school records. A new "Parallel Parenting" section is also included for high-conflict families.

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