Over the last two decades, social and psychological science research, and an ever-changing view of what constitutes a “family” and who and how work is done by parents, has shifted the view of custody. Not that long ago, women were de facto awarded custody on divorce and father’s obtained “visitation.”
Now the importance of frequent contact with both parents has been validated, and the non-custodial parent is awarded “parenting time.” This reinforces the concept of shared parenting. This blog post explores some of the more common parenting orders of custody reached by agreement or after a trial.
The first is joint time with a week on and week off. Many parents, particularly working parents, who have twice as much work and responsibility than when together, find alternating weeks helpful. One week calls for errands to be done and other tasks that are hard when with their children and the other week allows for intense time to be spent with the parent and child.
A similar and second concept is an alternating day schedule that repeats and resets over and over like 5-2-2-5 days in alternation. This is one of many variants that parents find meets their needs and the child’s best interests. Many times this type of schedule is built around non-traditional or flexible work schedules.
The third and presumed schedule where one parent is awarded physical custody is parenting time that involved a mid-week time and alternating weekends and holidays. This is the presumption set forth for meeting a child’s best interests in Indiana cases and statutes.
The final and perhaps most common result of a contested custody trial is primary custody with one parent but more time than called for in the parenting time guidelines with the other parent. This may be or is a legal trend. However, to make the best case for this to the judge deciding the case, the evidence by parties must show this in the child’s best interests.
These are all potential parenting time arrangements that may be ordered by an Indiana trial court judge. The key to making this point is to demonstrate it is in the children’s best interests and will actually work in practice. This again comes from establishing what is the children’s best interests not what comes from what a party may want.
This blog is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle child custody cases across the State of Indiana. The blog post is intended to provide general educational information and is not a solicitation for legal services or specific legal advice. It is best thoughts of an advertisement.