After a custody and parenting time determination, the parenting time schedule is set as specific as possible, so that the parties know their parenting time schedule. Often, the non-custodial parent will have a midweek and every other weekend as their parenting time schedule. The non-custodial parent may have more or less parenting time, depending on the Order or agreement of the parties.
But, one matter not so well-defined is the opportunity for additional parenting time. If, during a parent’s parenting time, they need childcare for the children, what is the protocol for offering that time to the other parent? Often, it is a matter of how who, when, and how the childcare is needed.
Who: The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (IPTG) note that the opportunity for additional parenting time potentially arises when a parent or responsible household family member is unavailable. Therefore, a new spouse or grandparent who lives in the home may provide care while a parent is unavailable without the opportunity for additional parenting time being triggered.
When: If a parent is running to the store or on a quick errand, the opportunity for additional parenting time is not practical. Parents would constantly be calling each other for short, half-hour trips where the children are playing at a neighbor’s or with a babysitter. The Guidelines do not note a specific time period, but often around 3-4 hours of childcare needed may trigger the opportunity for additional parenting time.
How: So, how does additional parenting time occur? First, the other parent is not required to provide childcare. If they are unable, they do not have to change their plans. Also, the parent who is exercising additional parenting time provides transportation per the Guidelines unless the parties otherwise agree. The parent providing childcare as an opportunity for additional parenting time does not get paid for their time, nor does this affect overnights.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring the opportunity for additional parenting time. This blog is not intended as legal advice. Ciyou & Dixon P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.