Summer Visitation: Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines

Winter time is almost over, and an important deadline is quickly approaching.  If you were granted parenting time pursuant to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) then the time is upon you to start thinking about what parenting time you will be exercising with your kids during the summer months.  Pursuant to the Guidelines, April 1st is the deadline that the non-custodial parent has to notify the custodial parent of the parenting time that they wish to exercise over the summer.  If you miss this deadline, that does not mean that you are unable to spend half of the summer with your children.  Instead, it means that the custodial parent gets to choose the summer parenting time schedule. It is important to remember that all notices should be given both verbally and in writing, and a timely selection shall not be rejected by the other parent.

Summer parenting time is set forth in the Guidelines under Section II, Paragraph D(3) “Extended Parenting Time (Child 5 and older)”.  If your children are over the age of 5, then you are entitled to “One-half of the Summer Vacation.”   The Guidelines define summer as starting the day after school lets out for summer and ends the day before school resumes for the new school year.  Per the Guidelines, this time can be used consecutively or it can be split into two segments.  It is important to keep in mind that if the parties agree to another schedule (for example, alternating weeks in the summer), the schedule set forth in the Guidelines can be modified.

What happens when your child’s school follows a balanced calendar or a year-round calendar?  In that case, the parents exercise extended parenting time on school breaks.  The noncustodial parent extended parenting time is one-half of the fall and spring breaks.  The noncustodial parent exercises parenting time in the first half of the break in odd years.  In the even years, the noncustodial parent exercises parenting time on the second half of the breaks.  The Guidelines. State that the breaks start two hours after the child has been released from school, the second half of the break will end at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school begins again.  Again, this can be amended if the parties agree, or if the court enters a different schedule for the parties.

A question that is frequently asked is what happens if my child either elects to attend or is required to attend summer school.  The parent exercising parenting time is responsible for the child’s transportation to school and their attendance at school.

During any extended summer period of more than two consecutive weeks with either parent, the other parent shall have the benefit of the regular parenting time schedule, which includes alternating weekends and mid-week parenting time, unless it is not feasible due to distance created by out of town vacations.

An important factor to keep in mind when selecting your summer parenting time schedule is how the summer holidays affect that selection.  If you select the week of July 4th as your summer parenting time, and it is the other parent’s holiday, your child will be with the other parent during that holiday.  Section II, Paragraph F(1) “Conflicts Between Regular and Holiday Weekends” of the Guidelines states that the holiday parenting time schedule should take priority over regularly scheduled and extended parenting time.  Extended parenting time (summer parent time) takes priority over regular parenting time.  Again, if you and the other parent agree to an alternative schedule, you are free to modify the schedule. The holidays that effect summer parenting time are usually Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Father’s Day.  The parenting time for summer holidays are:

  • Memorial Day starts on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and continues through Monday at 7:00 p.m.
  • Father’s Day starts on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and continues through Sunday at 6:00 p.m..
  • Fourth of July starts on July 3rd at 6:00 p.m. and continues until 10:00 a.m. on July 5th

A complete holiday schedule in the Guidelines can be found in Section II, Paragraph F “Holiday Parenting Time Schedule”.

What happens to my weekends during the summer break? As stated above, extended parenting time takes precedence over regular parenting time.  Therefore, the non-custodial parent does not continue the regular schedule in addition to the extended schedule, unless the time with each parent is greater than two consecutive weeks.  When summer break is over, you revert back to the same schedule of weekends that you had prior to summer break.  Again, parents are free to modify the schedule as they both agree to accommodate the needs of their children.
If you or someone you know has questions about summer parenting time or need assistance in obtaining parenting time during the summer, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC for a free consultation at (317) 870-0019 or email us at info@banksbrower.com.