In domestic matters, joint physical and legal custody can be appropriate, and in these instances, parents equally divide parenting time and jointly make decisions involving the broad topics of religion, medical care, and education of the Children1. This blog will focus on the issue of physical custody.
The minimum guideline for parenting time division is by the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (IPTGs)2. This is not a required parenting time schedule, but rather, a starting off point. Generally, for older children, the IPTGs call for midweek parenting time (that may be an overnight) and parenting time every other weekend for the “non-custodial” parent3.
However, the IPTG proposed time would account for a “non-custodial” parent receiving 128 days of parenting time out of 365, including summer time and holiday time. This falls well below a joint physical custody arrangement.
When a joint physical custody arrangement is made, the parties or Courts can be creative when dividing parenting time to make the division equal. One division that is not used frequently because of its difficult and potential strain on the Children is the day on/day off schedule. One parent would have the child every other day. Holidays are generally divided per the IPTGs or agreement of the parties.
Another option that is more feasible is week on/week off time. However, this requires that if the Children are in school, the parents live in the same school district or make arrangements for proper transportation to and from school.
A third option is the 2-2-5-5 plan. This schedule is best explained by way of example. In a 2-2-5-5 scheme, Father may have the Children each Monday and Tuesday. Mother would then have parenting time each Wednesday and Thursday, and the parties would alternate the Friday, Saturday, Sunday “weekend”. So, one week, one party would have parenting time for five out of seven days, and the next week, the other parent would. There are fewer exchanges than the day on/day off plan, but the Children are not away from either parent for a full week under the 2-2-5-5 scheme.
If the parties share joint physical custody, it may take some time and creativity to create a schedule that works for all parties involved. However, by understanding the pros and cons to each plan and implementing a plan that works best for the family, hopefully the right balance can be met.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring some potential starting points in exploring a balanced calendar for parenting time when the parties share joint physical custody. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.