Saturday, March 16, 2013

Indiana Domestic Relations Committee meets to discuss 2013 IPTG and proposals for future projects

Members of the Domestic Relations Committee met in regular session Friday 15 March 2013, to review scenarios for the power point presentation on the revised IPTG to be presented at the Spring Judicial Conference on 17 April 2013. Additional business included ideas for future projects and ideas for the Fall Domestic Relations Conference.

During review of the scenarios it was revealed that by applying some school calendars to the 2013 IPTG there are instances where a parent will receive five weekends in a row. Although this is an unintended consequence of trying to maintain simplicity and uniformity in scheduling parenting time the committee members do feel that it is not a desirable situation.

With the same parent exercising Spring Break and Easter in any calendar year this is likely to occur often in some school districts and will affect both parents. In these situations I suggest that parents agree to insert the following language into their parenting plan;
“Anytime the holiday and special day schedule, excluding extended summer break, would produce a scenario where the child(ren) will be with the same parent for five (5) or more consecutive weekends the parent losing weekends shall be entitled to exercise any weekends that are not a part of the holiday and special day schedule but fall within the first and last weekends exercised by the other parent.”
Thus if Parent A exercises regular parenting time on odd numbered weekends but holidays for Parent B fall on weekends 3, 5 and 6 Parent B would then be scheduled for weekends 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. In this situation Parent A, who is losing weekends 3 and 5, would be entitled to exercise parenting time on weekend 4.

I do not see this as a need for modification to the guidelines as parents should be able to reach suitable accord for this scenario. Without applying this language to the guidelines the other alternative would be to divide Spring Break and Easter between the parents instead of being with the same parent as is currently provided for in the 2013 IPTG. This matter was discussed during the process of revising the guidelines and it was decided then that separating those two periods would be problematic. Simply put these are guidelines. Parents, practitioners and judicial officers need to learn and take the effort to make their own modifications. That is the overwhelming will of the committee as whenever these difficulties were contemplated the default decision to go with or abandon a provision was premised upon the basis that these are only guidelines and parents are going to have to make their own parenting plans.

I presented to the committee my report on court imposed mediation in child custody cases. No formal action is to be taken as it was simply an informational report to the committee members who may then decide to formally bring the issue to the committee.

Anne Jordan received ideas for selection of topics for the Fall Domestic Relations Conference. These included providing guidance to judicial officers hearing ex-parte petitions for protective orders who are concurrently presiding over a case involving the same parties, providing resources and guidance to pro se litigants, and the effects of property division on children.

Hard copies of the revised Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines should be available in local Clerk of the Courts offices beginning later this month.

Committee Chair Judge Lynn Murray has continued to impress me with her manner of conducting the meetings and keeping information and discussion flowing in a productive manner.

The next meeting is scheduled for Friday 17 May 2013. Members of the public are invited to attend but it is not a public input session. If you would like to attend please contact me so you may be added to the guest list at the security desk.

If you would like to have the 2013 Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines applied to your current custody case then 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.

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

©2008, 2013 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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