Five Tips for Success for Non-Custodial Parents in 2021

Jennifer C. Hughes

Author: Jennifer C. Hughes

POST DATE: 1.25.21
Ccha  Family Law

When it comes to parenting, maneuvering a divorce is one thing; being a non-custodial parent is a whole other challenge.

Non-custodial parenting is one result when a parent may not retain physical custody of their child following a divorce or breakup. The court will commonly grant non-custodial parents with generous visitation rights when a parent is not awarded primary physical custody of the child, but there are still efforts that can and should be made to ensure a smooth parenting process.

Before we share five tips CCHA recommends for non-custodial parents in 2021, it’s important to understand a few intricacies about parenting time:

Indiana Parenting Time

The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are based on the premise that it is usually in a child's best interest to have frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with each parent. The Guidelines acknowledge that scheduling parenting time is more difficult when separate households are involved and requires persistent effort and communication between parents to promote the best interest of the children involved. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a model which may be adjusted depending upon the unique needs and circumstances of each family.

Non-custodial parents should be well aware of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, as recommendations are made specifically for non-custodial parents within.

How to Modify Custody or Parenting Time

Modifications are an option for both custody and parenting time. If a parent seeks to make changes to a current custody or parenting time order in the state of Indiana, they will need to file a motion to modify custody or parenting time, then provide evidence and examples to a judge showing a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that impact the best interest of the child(ren). The change in circumstance must warrant a modification.

Parties may resolve the modification by agreement, or by attending a hearing with the court. A judge has discretion regarding a modification, but a court will likely not modify custody unless change in circumstances exists since the last order, and it is in the best interest of the child(ren).

5 Tips for Success for Non-Custodial Parents in 2021

With Indiana Parenting Time and Modifications to Custody and/or Parenting Time understood, here are five tips CCHA recommends for non-custodial parents in 2021:

  1. Follow the agreed upon visitation schedule: it goes without saying, but adhering to the visitation is integral for co-parents. If there are circumstances that prevent the non-custodial parent from adhering to the schedule, that parent should start by communicating the need for a change with the custodial parent, directly.
  2. Put the needs and best interest of the child first, always: Though this should be applicable for both parents, a non-custodial parent should put the best interests of the child first.
  3. A non-custodial parent should plan for a child's visits by purchasing all the child needs to maintain their existing quality of life, or as close as possible to what they are used to. This includes being prepared for overnight visits, should that be part of the court order, and being able to provide all the necessary items for a child during the overnight hours.
  4. Aim for consistency: your child(ren) look forward to the time they spend with you during scheduled visits. Avoid being late or cancellations whenever possible, as this can create feelings of insecurity or uneasiness. It’s important to prioritize and maximize the time you have to spend with your child, which also means avoiding unnecessary conflict. When conflict does arise, co-parent and work in tandem with your ex whenever and however possible.
  5. Keep adult matters between adults: divorce or breakups don’t put an end to interactions when children are involved. In cases where the adults have a disagreement on a matter related to the child, protect the child from feeling torn between the two. Private discussions, whether in person or through other means, are best. Perhaps most importantly, avoid speaking ill of your ex-partner to or around the child at all costs.

Have questions about co-parenting during or after a divorce? CCHA attorneys understand the delicate nature of family issues. If you have questions, contact our CCHA family law attorneys with specific questions.