Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 Amendments to Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines - Holiday Parenting Time Schedule: Conflicts and Special Days

After a two year process the proposed revisions to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines [IPTG] have now been posted on the Indiana Judiciary web-page. The Domestic Relations Committee of the Indiana Judicial Center [DRC] -- the body responsible for writing the IPTG -- will be accepting public comment on the proposed revisions until Monday, 26 March 2012 .

For the past two years I have been attending the DRC meetings and presenting proposals or providing feedback as requested. I will be analyzing each of the amended sections individually and providing commentary on the changes. Today I continue with my ninth posting - Holiday Parenting Time

Here is the proposed section -- revised in bold type -- Holiday Parenting Time Schedule: Conflicts

I have eliminated the language that is proposed to be removed and have only highlighted the substantial additions.

"The Holiday Parenting Time Schedule shall take precedence over regularly scheduled and extended parenting time. Extended parenting time takes precedence over regular parenting time unless otherwise indicated in these Guidelines. Alternating weekends shall be maintained through-out the year as follows. If a parent misses a regular weekend because it is the other parent's holiday, it will be lost. If a parent receives two consecutive weekends because of a holiday, that parent shall have the third weekend also. Regular alternating weekends shall continue throughout the year."

As I recall, this section took the longest amount of time to get written per word. The first intent was to clean up the language as it related to the convoluted way in which it was stated how the NCP parenting time would resume following a holiday and then the reciprocal section applying to the CP.

Once that was accomplished the discussion moved on to the whether regular parenting time should resume alternating on the weekend following a holiday or if the alternating schedule should be resumed on the next weekend as though the holiday had not occurred.

For years there has been different interpretations of the current guidelines as to whether the maximum consecutive weekends with either parent was two or three. I have seen parents, practitioners and judges all interpret this section in different ways. Any ambiguity will be resolved through application of the proposed changes.

The commentary describes concisely the potential for three consecutive weekends and when the regular alternating parenting time shall resume. This section produced some of the greatest discord among the Committee members and quite heated discussion. I wanted and will still be suggesting the two-on, two-off scheduling where when a holiday creates two consecutive weekends with one parent the the following two weekends the child will be with the other parent which gets back onto the regular alternating schedule.

A parent may receive three (3) consecutive weekends due to a holiday. It is anticipated that missed weekends due to holidays will balance out for each parent given the alternating schedule for the holidays provided for in these guidelines.

When the Court orders a change of physical custody, the Court should consider whether the Holiday Schedule change should start at the beginning of the calendar year, at the beginning or the end of the child’s school year, or immediately.

There were two changes made to the Holiday Schedule: Special Days section.

Here is the first portion, highlighted in bold, which relates to birthday celebrations.

[5]When the child’s birthday falls within a Special Day, Holiday, or Christmas vacation, the child’s birthday shall be celebrated with the parent having the child during that time period. When the parent’s birthday falls within a Special Day, Holiday or Christmas vacation, the Special Day, Holiday or Christmas vacation takes precedence.

The next portion, highlighted in bold, relates to school observances of two Monday holidays. These do not establish either as a new holiday but merely makes the logical correlation between the responsibility of a NCP to return the child to the CP on Sunday's before school is anticipated to resume on Monday. When school resumes on a Tuesday then it should follow that the child is returned on Monday evening instead.

[6] If the child’s school is closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day and/or President’s Day the weekend parenting time will extend to Monday at 6:00 p.m.

The next section will cover specific Holiday Parenting Time Schedule: Christmas Vacation and Holidays.

If you need assistance with a child custody matter please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

If you would like to follow my activities more closely then send a friend request to my Political FaceBook page.

Subscribe to this blawg.

More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

1 comment:

childrenfirst said...

If the child's birthday falls on a holiday and it is the non custodials parents year for both the birthday and holiday, does the visit end at 7 or 9?