Column: IPTG can help exes agree


Commentary by Betsy Sommers

Although the holidays are a busy and stressful time for everyone, the holiday season can be a particularly difficult time for families affected by divorce. Holiday parenting time is an especially challenging issue for parents to deal with because both parents will inevitably lose time with their child.

Ideally, you and your ex should come to a holiday arrangement ahead of time that works for all involved, most importantly the child. Parents who are unable to agree on a holiday parenting schedule on their own should look to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines for guidance.

Per the guidelines that took effect March 1, 2013, Christmas break begins two hours after the child is released from school on the last day before break and ends at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes. Christmas vacation is split evenly between the parents. The guidelines ensure that parents switch off each year as to who gets the child during the first half of break and who gets the child during the second half. In odd-numbered years such as this year, the child spends the first half of his/her vacation with the non-custodial parent and the second half with the custodial parent. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are not included as separate holidays under the IPTG.

As for the actual holiday, both parents are in luck. In years where Christmas does not fall during a parent’s half of the break, that parent can have the child from noon to 9:00 p.m. on Christmas Day. This year, for example, a custodial parent with a child in the Carmel school district will have the second half of Christmas Day.

Importantly, the above holiday schedule only applies to children age 3 and older. For children younger than 3, a non-custodial parent’s parenting time ranges from two to 10 hours on scheduled holidays, according to age.

If you haven’t already, reach out to your ex to confirm the holiday schedule now so you aren’t arguing about exchange dates and times and your child knows what to expect ahead of the holiday.

Betsy Sommers is an attorney at Carmel-based Coots, Henke & Wheeler, P.C. She focuses on representing individuals in divorce, legal separation, parenting time, custody, protective orders, adoption, guardianship and child support matters. She can be reached at 

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