Child Custody in Indiana and Long-Distance Parenting
You still have rights under the laws for child custody in Indiana if you need to move for a job or to perform other essential duties, like care for an elderly parent. Any parenting plan that you develop should directly address the long-distance nature of your co-parenting situation.
Long distances by necessity will limit the frequency of your visits with children. You may ask for longer blocks of visitation time to make up for the imbalance of time between a custodial parent and a long-distance parent. As a result, the children might stay in the noncustodial home during most of the summer and holiday breaks from school.
You might also consider working out the rules for parenting time when you are able to travel to or near the custodial parent’s residence. To accommodate this scenario, a co-parenting plan should state how much notice a co-parents needs provide before a visit and where that person and the child will stay during the visit.
Addressing transportation issues are an important part of your parenting time plan. You should prepare written guidelines that explain who will go where and by what mode of transportation. Take care to understand the rules at the airlines about minors traveling alone.
If driving represents a feasible transportation option, then your plan should specify drop off locations and times as well as who is responsible for driving. You should also spell out who is obligated to pay which travel expenses and if other third parties are allowed to assist in transportation such as grandparents, spouses and friends.
Your plan must address how everyone will stay connected. You might choose to establish specific times and days for phone calls or state which email addresses everyone can use. Social media and online gaming interactions, as well as various forms of online video chat services, can be included in your communication plan as well.
Child Custody Modifications
When you want to move after a court has already approved a child custody and parenting time arrangement, you may need to file a Notice of Intent to Relocate. Indiana has recently changed the law on when a Notice of Intent to Relocate is required, so it’s important that you contact a family law attorney to determine if that requirement is applicable in your situation. If you are required to file a Notice of Intent to Relocate, the other parent has the right to file a request with the Indiana divorce court for modification of custody and/or parenting time. Whether you expect the other parent to contest your desire to move, legal advice can help you navigate this process and achieve an acceptable outcome. You can also learn whether an alteration to your custody arrangement might affect your child support payments in Indiana.
Understand Your Legal Options
The laws for child custody in Indiana grant you rights even if you have to move far away. With legal representation, you can formulate a parenting time plan that maintains family ties and limits the potential for misunderstandings between you and a co-parent. Call Webster & Garino at (317) 565-1818 to schedule a complimentary case review with a family law lawyer.
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