If you or someone you know has gone through a divorce or separation in Indiana, then most likely you have some experience with the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Bowen and Associates is well-versed in the "IPTG", and we understand that both parents want to spend as much time with their children as possible.
Luckily for custodial and non-custodial parents alike, the IPTG can provide opportunities for additional parenting time, even outside of your normal parenting time schedule. The opportunity for additional parenting time is sometimes referred to as the "First Right of Refusal," and is outlined in Section I.(C.)(3.) of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. However, it is important for all parties to be aware that extra parenting time under these circumstances does not usually warrant a change in child support.
Below you will find a few examples of when the opportunity for additional parenting time should be offered. Please note that these examples of additional parenting time occur only when the child is with someone other than a household family member, and the period of time the child is with that person is more than just a couple of hours:
Example 1: If a parent goes on vacation during his or her parenting time and does not take the child, the opportunity for additional parenting time exists.
Example 2: If a parent has a date or evening out planned during his or her parenting time and hires a third-party babysitter, the opportunity for additional parenting time exists.
Example 3: If a parent whom is not exercising parenting time wishes to watch the child after that parent gets off of work instead of the child going to daycare, the opportunity for additional parenting time exists.
It is important to also be aware that this rule of the Guidelines is not meant for all instances when a child may require a babysitter, such as when a parent runs to the store for a short amount of time. The period of absence is circumstantial and the opportunity for additional parenting time is meant to be practical and beneficial to all parties.
The key in dealing with these types of situations is first and foremost to know and understand the law. Knowledge is power! Second, remember to always operate with the best interests of the child in mind. This can be very difficult to do in practice, especially when it feels like the best interests of the child may be very different from what your emotions are telling you to do. And finally, seek the advice and input from your lawyer. One of the many advantages of having experienced counsel is the ability to ask and receive an experienced opinion, without the emotion, taking into consideration your particular set of circumstances.
Call Bowen & Associates, LLC today at (317) 565-2221 to discuss this, or any other family law issue you may be experiencing. We offer a free telephone consultation, and our knowledge, experience, and work ethic set us apart from other firms. We look forward to speaking with you soon.