Parents and Children's Equality = Equal Parenting of Children
February 2002 Newsletter
Dear Friends of Indiana Families:
> Subject: Pro Se litigants, Summer Visitation
> Pro Se Assistance:
As was mentioned in a prior email, there is a Supreme Court committee which focuses attention on the needs of pro se litigants(those representing themselves). The committee has now made certain forms for common civil procedures available on a web site. This site also contains information about alternative dispute resolution, availability of low-cost/no-cost legal assistance, and other valuable references. The site is:
> Watch for periodic updates, and don't overlookinformation which may be available at your local courthouse. The pro se pilot project only involves four (4) counties (see above site), but many other counties are providing unrepresented individuals limited assistance with forms and other necessary information.
> Summer Vacation!
Don't forget that summer visitation plans (a.k.a. "extended parenting time") need to be communicated soon! The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines specify a date of April 1st for the noncustodial parent (yes, those words are still there) to specify the extended parenting time period(s) for children ages 5+. The Guidelines specify that half of the summer is to be allocated to each parent, but there are some options available as to whether the time will be continuous or split into non-consecutive segments. It also addresses the requirement for "reverse visitation" (my words) during the period(s). If notice is not given before April 1, the custodial parent gets to select the dates and periods. Many parents use certified mail to confirm that these deadlines have been met, or that notice has been refused. If your orders do not reference the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, your "notice date" may differ.
> Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines for "extendedparenting time" are available on-line at:
> Public Hearing - Indiana Child Support GuidelineReview:
A public hearing for input on the Indiana Child Support Guidelines is scheduled for July 19, 2002. This hearing will provide opportunity for comments and suggestions regarding issues not addressed, or not adequately addressed, by the present financial guidelines. The hearing usually takes place in the Supreme Court chambers of the Statehouse, and will probably begin at about 10:00am. I will confirm the date/time to you again as the date approaches. If you are unable to attend, watch the Supreme Court web site (http://www.in.gov.judiciary) for a link to comment to the Domestic Relations Committee "on line". Note that this review is focusing on financial issues, not parenting time issues (access denial, move-aways, etc.). Comments will need to be received before mid-July to be considered in this cycle. The next review will be FOUR YEARS OR
> MORE AWAY! Changes willlikely be approved by the Supreme Court near the end of 2002 or early 2003, and typically take effect in March. This delay provides sufficient time to publicize changes to the legal professionals.
> Topics likely to be considered include:
> 1. The child support calculation treatment oftaxable income vs. income actually received (Subchapter S corporate income is taxable to, but may not be received by, a owner, especially if the owner is only a minority owner and cannot force a distribution of such "profit");
> 2. The present limitation of a 10% reduction in child support for exercising the (undefined) "regular" visitation (co-parenting time commonly exceeds 10% and is increasing!);
> 3. Whether the percentage reduction for both regular and extended parenting periods should be applied to only the obligor's child support or to the "Basic Child Support Obligation" (worksheet line 4);
> 4. The present separation of child support abatement language (which is in the Child Support Guidelines) from the Parenting
> Time Guidelines. The lattercontains no language re: abatement, which means that most parents who are ordered to have "Guidelines" parenting time are not getting any abatement at all during extended visitation!
> Valuable On-Line Resources:
Finally, the web site http://www.divorcelinks.com provides a valuable set of links to various divorce-related resources. Indiana links include the Indiana Code, Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, Indiana Child Support Guidelines, child support calculators (multiple versions, some with references back to the appropriate Guideline Rule) and links to various children's rights/parenting groups. I reference this site to others and regularly use it myself! The webmaster, Bruce Smith, also commonly posts communications such as this for others' reference. I really appreciate his efforts and personal sacrifices to make all this information easily accessible!
Summary:I encourage you to become actively involved in PACE or the Children's Rights
Council (http:///www.gocrc.com, with dues of only$35/year) if you are not already doing so!
Parents and Children's Equality
CRC of Indiana