Disputes regarding custody and parenting time (sometimes referred to as visitation) are fairly common. And while that may be the case, it doesn’t make it any easier for you to deal with. We understand that. Few things are as exhausting as the emotional drain caused by a custody or parenting time fight.
As always, we view believe our role is to advocate for your goals and use all our skills to determine what approach would be best in the given circumstance. We also believe part of our role is to help you stress less. When you hire us, you can rest easier, knowing that you don’t need to worry about developing a case. We’re doing that for you. You don’t need to fight every day. We’re doing that for you.
With all that said, there are a few key principles to keep in mind when it comes to custody and parenting time. Here they are:
Legal custody has nothing to do with where a child lives. Legal custody has to do with making big decisions in the child’s life, such as education, religion, and medical care. If parents share legal custody, they are supposed to discuss those big issues and reach a decision together. If they are unable to reach a joint decision, they can then bring the matter to court and let the judge decide.
If a parent has sole legal custody, it simply means they do not need to consult with the other parent prior to making one of those “big” decisions. They have the authority to make the decision on their own.
Think of having primary physical custody as being “home base” for the child. Generally speaking, it means the child will live with this parent the majority of the time. The noncustodial parent will usually have parenting time rights. Parenting time is the term used by Indiana to describe “visitation.” We use the term parenting time because we don’t think of a parent as merely “visiting” a child. When a parent has their child, they are truly parenting them. Generally speaking, each parent establishes the rules for the child when the child is in their care.
Indiana uses the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines to establish the minimum parenting time rights a parent is to have. Of course, parents can always go above these guidelines. These merely serve as a baseline.
If you are being denied your rights, you have multiple ways to enforce a parenting time order. If you think the current order is bad for your child, there are things that can be done to make it better. Please call us and let us get you on the path toward a better situation.
Indiana grants parents certain parenting time rights. Generally speaking, they track the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines; however, courts will frequently deviate from those guidelines and allow a noncustodial parent to demand more time with their child(ren).
A proper parenting time plan will account for weekends, holidays, birthdays, breaks from school (spring, summer, etc.), and other special days (birthdays, etc).
And when it comes to enforcing a parenting time order, you should keep in mind that parenting time and child support, or any other obligation, are not tied to each other. You may not withhold parenting time because the other parent is behind on support.
If you are having a parenting time dispute, please contact us. We can help determine if the other party could be found in contempt or if the situation warrants a change of custody. You have options, and they are likely worth pursuing.
Let our caring family attorneys provide the guidance and support you need to resolve your family law issues.