Now that the holidays are over, and winter is upon us, inclement weather can unexpectedly cause travel problems and get in the way of normal parenting time exchanges. If the recent storms in Indiana have taught us anything, it is to be prepared for bad weather that can cause schools, work, and all travel to be canceled.
If you are ordered to follow the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (or if you have some other parenting time arrangement, the IPTG can serve as a good guide to what the court is likely to consider exceptions to normal parenting time), the Guidelines state generally that bad weather is not an excuse to deny parenting time, with the exception that travel is unsafe1.
The guidelines leave it up to the parents to determine when travel is unsafe, and the longer the distance between the parties, the more likely that road conditions could prove unsafe for the parent or child to be traveling in. When inclement weather causes travel to be unsafe, many counties will issue travel warnings, watches, or advisories. If you are concerned that travel is unsafe due to weather conditions, it is best to check several sources, including local news broadcasts, the Indiana Department of homeland security travel status website2 and the Indiana Department of Transportation website.3
When determining if the weather is sufficiently bad such that travel to effectuate a parenting time exchange is dangerous, parents should discuss what is in the child’s best interests, and if parenting time cannot be effectuated, parents should make arrangements for makeup time.
It is important to remember that changing parenting time due to weather should not be a decision taken lightly, and should be considered carefully. The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines states that whenever parenting time is interrupted from the normal routine, makeup time is appropriate. Therefore, weather is not a reason to deny parenting time altogether.
We hope that you have found this information to be helpful. This is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about your specific case involving a parenting time exchanges, in Indiana, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. frequently handles domestic and child related matters, and can help evaluate your specific case. This blog post was written by Attorney, Lori B. Schmeltzer.