Have you planned out your parenting time schedule during for the upcoming Christmas Break?
For many divorcing or divorced parents, creating and following a parenting time schedule can be one of the most tedious and stressful processes in the divorce. During the holiday season, these stressors can be exacerbated. The holidays are a difficult time for a recently divorced family as well as for children. It may be the first major holiday in two households. Extended family on both sides may have competing interests for time with you and your children. It is essential that you and your co-parent can be on the same page to allow the holidays to be as enjoyable as it can be for your children.
For families who have incorporated the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines into an agreement, or even with shared custody cases, the holiday provisions of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are normally implemented unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
Section II (F) (2) of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines defines and sets a schedule for divorcing or divorced parents over the holiday season, stating:
The Christmas vacation shall be defined as beginning on the last day of school and ending the last day before school begins again. Absent agreement of the parties, the first half of the period will begin two hours after the child is released from school. The second half of the period will end at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school begins again.
Each party will receive one half (1/2) of the total days of the Christmas vacation, on an alternating basis as follows:
1. In even numbered years, the custodial parent shall have the first one half (1/2) of the Christmas vacation and non-custodial parent shall have the second one half (1/2) of the Christmas vacation.
2. In odd numbered years, the non-custodial parent shall have the first one half (1/2) of the Christmas vacation and custodial parent shall have the second one half (1/2) of the Christmas vacation.
3. In those years when Christmas does not fall in a parent’s week, that parent shall have the child from Noon to 9:00 P.M. on Christmas Day.
4. No exchanges under this portion of the rule shall occur after 9:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m., absent agreement of the parties.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day shall not be considered separate holidays under the Parenting Time Guidelines.
For illustrative purposes, let’s say your children attend Our Lady of Grace in Noblesville, Indiana. The Christmas break begins on Thursday, December 22nd and ends on Wednesday, January 4th. If you are the non-custodial parent and you do not agree to deviate from the guidelines, you will follow the parenting time guidelines. This means your co-parent will have parenting time two hours after the children are released from school on the 22nd until December 27th and then you would have parenting time for the remaining time until 6:00pm the day before the children have to return to school, in this example Tuesday January 2nd at 6:00pm. Christmas day falls on the first half of this example, so if you are the non-custodial parent you would be able to have parenting time from noon until 9:00pm on that special day.
Winter break is coming soon. Schedule a consultation today with the attorneys at Halcomb Singler LLP at (317) 575-8222 so you can get the holiday schedule that works best for you and your family.