HOW DOES THE BALANCED CALENDAR
AFFECT YOUR PARENTING TIME?
The balanced calendar, or year-round calendar, has been adopted by many Indiana school corporations recently. A balanced calendar shortens summer vacation and disperses those days throughout the school year, which balances out the frequency of in-session days and break days. PARENTING TIME ORDERS AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS ENTERED PRIOR TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A BALANCED CALENDAR MAY NOT TAKE THE NEW SCHOOL CALENDAR INTO PROPER CONSIDERATION AND MAY NEED TO BE MODIFIED.
The Indiana Supreme Court recently adopted the newest version of the Indiana Parenting Guidelines (“Guidelines”), effective March 1, 2013. The stated purpose of the Guidelines is to provide a model which may be adjusted depending upon the unique needs and circumstances of each family. There is a presumption the Guidelines should be followed in the cases in which they apply.
According to the current Guidelines, if a child attends a school with a year-round or balanced calendar, THE NONCUSTODIAL PARENT’S PARENTING TIME MAY NEED TO BE ADJUSTED SO THAT THE NONCUSTODIAL PARENT AND CHILD SPEND AT LEAST AS MUCH TIME TOGETHER AS THEY WOULD UNDER A TRADITIONAL SCHOOL CALENDAR. The Guidelines indicate the noncustodial parent’s extended parenting time shall be one-half of the time for fall and spring school breaks. Unless otherwise agreed to by the parents or ordered by the court, the noncustodial parent should exercise parenting time the first half of school break in odd years and the second half of school break in even years.
The Guidelines also provide that summer vacation should be shared equally between the parents. The summer vacation begins the day after school lets out for the summer and ends the day before school resumes for the new school year. The time may be either consecutive or split into two (2) segments. The noncustodial parent needs to give notice to the custodial parent of the selection by April 1 of each year. If such notice is not given, the custodial parent must make the selection and notify the other parent. All notices are to be given in writing and verbally. A timely selection may not be rejected by the other parent. With the balanced calendar, winter break/Christmas vacation and all other Holidays remain to be shared as provided for in the Holiday Parenting Time Schedule.
If you have a parenting time order or settlement agreement, it is important to be familiar with the Guidelines and be aware that they do change from time to time. It is recommended you consult an attorney to consider how the recent changes to the Guidelines may or may not affect your current order or settlement agreement and whether or not modification is appropriate. Also, it is important to know that the Guidelines do not apply in every situation and, under appropriate circumstances, the parties and/or the court may deviate from the Guidelines. You can view the current Guidelines at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/parenting/.
Please be advised that this information does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship and is provided for informational purposes only.