The board of directors of the Indiana Judicial Conference approved proposed changes to the state’s parenting time guidelines Sept. 14 and sent them to the Supreme Court for review. However, the guidelines were sent on without any suggestions on parenting coordination.
Johnson Circuit Judge Mark Loyd, who chairs the conference’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, said the decision to remove parenting coordination from the guidelines came after comments made by the ADR section of the Indiana State Bar Association and the Supreme Court Rules Committee.
“Based upon those substantial and significant groups of comments, it became obvious that there needed to be some alteration of some portion,” he said.
The comments ranged from whether the parenting coordination should remain in the parenting time guidelines or be free-standing rules to whether recommendations from parenting coordinators should become binding before court review or should traditional due process kick in, he said.
Loyd and Steuben Superior Judge William Fee, who chairs the conference’s Domestic Relations Committee, agreed that the guidelines should move forward to the Supreme Court for review without the parenting coordination guidelines. Loyd said the PC guidelines will take more time to address and they didn’t want to hold up the rest of the revisions – including revisions made to address parallel parenting.
The conference's ADR committee is meeting with the ADR committee of the state bar next month to discuss possible rule changes and resolutions involving parenting coordination. Parenting coordination is not currently addressed in the guidelines or Supreme Court rules in effect.
Jeffrey Bercovitz, director of juvenile and family law at the Indiana Judicial Center, said the rest of the guidelines submitted to the Supreme Court did not significantly change and were "cleaned up." He said they are very similar to the rules posted on the court’s website in March for public comment, except there is now only one appendix.
The Domestic Relations and ADR committees of the Judicial Conference worked on these guidelines together for about two years, he said. This is the first time the guidelines have been reviewed since their inception in 2001.
There’s no indication when the Supreme Court will rule on the guidelines.