On March 23, 2020, Governor Halcomb issued a “Stay at Home Order” that is currently in effect until April 6, 2020. The Stay at Home Order specifically authorizes parents to travel to exchange their child for parenting time when parenting time is ordered pursuant to a Court Order.
On March 31, 2020, the Supreme Court of Indiana issued an Order clarifying custody, parenting time, and child support orders during the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic. The Order provides the clarification that Judges and family law practitioners were seeking in light of the Stay at Home Order allowing travel for parenting time exchanges.
The Order provides the following:
1) Existing court orders for custody and parenting time remain binding and should be followed.
2) The school calendar as published by schools at the beginning of the year shall control parenting time schedules. Parenting time schedules are not impacted by the current school closures.
3) Parents may informally agree to modify their custody and parenting time orders if both parents agree a modification is best. The temporary agreement may be filed with the Court, but filing the agreement is not necessary as long as both parents have a copy of the temporary agreement.
4) If parents cannot agree on temporary modifications, and it is believed that a modification is necessary, either parent may file an emergency petition to modify the existing orders.
5) Childs support orders remain in place during the pandemic.
6) Many clerk’s offices are closed and cannot accept payment in person. Child support can be paid online, by telephone, by mail, and other locations as described by: https://www.in.gov/dcs/3504.htm
7) If parents are unable to make their full child support payments as a result of the pandemic, that parent may file a petition to modify child support with the Court. It is important a petition to modify is filed as soon as the payments cannot be made, as retroactive modifications, prior to the date of filing for modification, are rarely allowed.
8) Filings with the Court should be made electronically.
9) Parents should be flexible and cooperate for the best interest and health of their children during this time.
Our office is committed to staying up to date on the rapidly changing situation so that we can best serve our clients. If you have questions about the impact of the pandemic for your family, please contact our office by telephone, video conferencing, or email to discuss your specific circumstances.