Every child endures divorce differently. Their age can influence how they comprehend their parents’ circumstances.
Indiana law recognizes the impact of parents’ broken relationships on each child’s unique developmental and psychological needs. While no specific provisions can apply to every situation, the state suggests a possible framework that can help devise healthy parenting times and uphold the child’s best interests.
A child’s needs continuously evolve
Raising a child is challenging enough. But nurturing them during divorce presents another level of difficulty. Parents can better navigate their child’s progress and the time they must spend with them by identifying and understanding significant life transitions.
- Infants and toddlers: The active presence of both parents is critical as these early years mark the foundation of a parent-child relationship. Frequent and predictable rather than longer and irregular visits are ideal because their physical and mental capacities have not yet developed fully.
- At least three-year-old kids: Both parties must be flexible enough to extend parenting time because the child often explores their environment during this phase. Their growing school and neighborhood circles may account for additional time for travel and potential summer activities.
- Adolescents and teenagers: Parents must find the balance between giving them the freedom to make their choices and setting clear rules for potential misconduct. The child must feel their opinions matter but still value the lessons from their parents. Further, parents must also exert reasonable efforts in their child’s expanding academic and social participation.
How the child makes it through divorce depends on the support system available to them as they move forward in life. Thus, parents must be careful in recalibrating their family’s ever-changing dynamics.
A one-size-fits-all parenting model does not exist
Parenting time plans can reflect how nuanced divorces can be. So, it is crucial that parents consult a legal counsel who can be sensitive to their family’s needs and skilled at creating workable structures. Doing so can result in favorable outcomes, such as protected parental rights and the child’s future.