As a noncustodial parent, you have the right to spend time with your children even though you don't live with them. However, this right to parental visitation does have its limits. If you're shown to be a danger to your child, your visitation rights (or your "parenting time" rights, as they're referred to in Indiana) can be restricted to supervised visitation or taken away entirely in extreme cases.
Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines
The Indiana Supreme Court established the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines for courts to use when deciding visitation issues. The Guidelines provide specific residential schedules for children based on the age of the child and visitation information about parental communication and transportation.
Courts should follow the Guidelines, but may offer (in writing) reasons not to follow them if it's in the best interests of the child. However, the Guidelines don't apply to the situations involving the following:
- Domestic violence;
- Substance abuse;
- Risk of parent leaving the state with the child; or
- Any circumstances that may cause physical or emotional harm to the child.
Visitation Rights in Indiana at a Glance
Even after reading the relevant statutes, it's often difficult to understand the exact meaning of the law. Use the chart below for clear introductory information about visitation rights in Indiana.
Indiana Code Title 31:
Visitation Rights: Delegation; Making Up Lost Parenting Time; Interference
Delegation of Parenting Time
A parent who has received deployment orders can delegate their parenting time (during the time that the parent is deployed):
- To a person who has a close and substantial relationship with the parent's child;
- If the court finds that delegating the parent's parenting time is in the best interests of the child.
Termination of Delegation
If a court delegates parenting time, the order delegating parenting time automatically terminates after the parent returns from deployment.
A court may terminate an order delegating parenting time if the court determines that the delegated parenting time is no longer in the best interests of the child.
Making up Missed Parenting Time
A noncustodial parent who misses parenting time may make up the lost parenting time if they missed it as the result of participation in an activity of:
- The National Guard; or
- The reserve components of the United States Armed Forces.
Interference with Parenting Time
A noncustodial parent may file for an application (in the court that has jurisdiction over the dissolution of marriage) for an injunction against the custodial parent if the following conditions apply to the noncustodial parent:
- They've been awarded parenting time rights with a child who lives with the custodial parent;
- They regularly pay child support; and
- They're prevented from exercising parenting time rights by the custodial parent.
A grandparent can seek visitation rights if:
- The child's parent is deceased;
- The marriage of the child's parents has been dissolved in Indiana; or
- The child was born out of wedlock.
Indiana courts can't grant visitation rights to a paternal grandparent of a child who is born out of wedlock if the child's father has not established paternity.
Modification of Parenting Time Order
If it's in the child's best interests, a court may modify an order granting/denying parenting time rights. This may be necessary if there's a substantial change of circumstances for one or both parents.
The court won't restrict a parent's parenting time rights unless it finds that the parenting time might endanger the child's physical health or significantly impair the child's emotional development.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Visitation Rights in Indiana: Related Resources
Contact an Attorney About Visitation Rights in Indiana
If you're a parent, it's critical to understand your visitation rights under the law. If you have questions about modifying your parenting time schedule or other visitation rights issues in Indiana, then contact an experienced child custody attorney immediately.