Parenting plans have direct consequences on children and both parents. Deciding how you and your ex will take care of your child following the divorce can be an emotional, stressful and even contentious process. To set yourself up for the best parenting plan possible it is important to understand Florida statutes regarding parenting plans.
If ordered by the court, shared parenting requires both parents to work together in making major decisions for the safety, health and well-being of the child. This happens if the court decides to award each party shared parental responsibility. In certain circumstances, sole parental responsibility may be ordered. This is typically only ordered if a parent is deemed unfit for taking care of the child.
What to include in your parenting plan
Shared parental responsibility means both parents are required to develop a parenting plan if there are minor children involved. Required information includes:
- Provisions regarding how both parents will take part in daily responsibilities to raise the child.
- The parent responsible for medical care.
- The parent responsible for education and extracurricular activities.
- A time-sharing schedule.
Each child should ideally have continual and frequent contact with each parent.
Instead of visitation or custody, Florida law calls it time-sharing. A time-sharing arrangement is one of the most crucial aspects of a parenting plan. You should include the following in your time-sharing schedule:
- Holiday schedule: Which parent the child spends holidays with.
- Residential schedule: When each parent has the child during weekdays and weekends.
- Summer break schedule: Whom the child is with during summer break.
It is encouraged for parents to develop a mutually beneficial schedule. If an agreement is unable to be made, the court will order a schedule for you.
What is best for your child
The court will only accept or order a plan that takes into account the needs of your child. Both parents should be able to encourage shared parenting and honor time-sharing. The physical and mental health of each parent will be taken into account as well. The demonstrated abilities of each parent to be caring and responsible will be necessary to create a good parenting plan.
Getting divorced and developing a parenting plan do not have to be unnecessarily difficult. Once you get past the confusing terminology and get legal advice from a family law attorney, you and the other parent can hopefully work together. Consulting an attorney can help you make a plan that is best for the overall well-being of your child.