Previously, we examined some of the proposed changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines1. A new step has been made toward this transition to new rules. The Family Law Committee has reviewed the comments about the proposed new rules, and the Indiana Supreme Court will now review and approve or deny same.
There are several substantial changes in the proposed new guidelines. One addition is stronger language regarding the use of technology to foster the relationship between parents and children. The proposed new guidelines encourage the use of video chat and Skype as an alternative to communication by phone or mail2.
This emphasis on electronic communication may make parent/child communication easier, more effective, or even more meaningful, by both parent and child being able to see each other. Many of these video chat services are free, and some may even be pre-loaded on your smartphone, making communication even easier.
Another proposed change involves what was formerly referred to as the right of first refusal. It is now entitled “Opportunity for Additional Parenting Time”, and the wording has changed to note that the opportunity for additional parenting time shall be offered if it is practical for the other parent to have additional time, considering the time available and the distance between the parties3.
Further, the proposed guidelines note that this opportunity need not be offered unless the parent or a responsible household member is unable to care for the child. This adds the language “responsible household” from previously when the language just noted that a family member could care for the child. This language helps to define who may care for the child (ex. Stepfather).
A third change proposed in the new guidelines is to summer parenting time. The proposed rules more clearly define the vacation period start and end. Also, the proposed rules include parenting time for the other parent when one parent has the child for more than two (2) consecutive weeks4.
These are just three (3) of the many proposed changes submitted to the Indiana Supreme Court for review. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the new rules, and explore the proposed changes. We hope that this blog post has been helpful in highlighting some possible substantial upcoming changes.
These are likely to become final and the law in the near future. The better educated you are about the law and proposed changes, the more likely it is you can meet your children’s best interests and help your attorney help you. This post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.